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The Man Without Shelter by Indrajit Garai

In November 2022, I reviewed The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai. I have received a copy of another of his books, The Man Without Shelter for a fair and impartial review.

"Lucy, a young lawyer, is on fast track to partnership in her firm. Arnault, a convicted felon, leaves prison after two decades through a piece of evidence in his favour. The two of them come together during a rescue operation at the centre of Paris, and then they go on with their separate lives. Months later, their paths cross again at a camp for migrants on the edge of Paris."

We meet Arnault has he is suddenly, in the middle of the night, released after 23 years in prison. He does not get any information why, and is recommended to contact his lawyer. As he wanders out in the Paris night, it is a total different world he meets. He walks around his old quarters but does not feel he wants to go back there. The little money he has earned in prison he has to be careful with. As he wanders around he sees the world of the homeless, and decides this is the way to live for the time being. He buys a tent and a few utensils, looks up a deserted spot by the Seine where he settles down, guarded by a couple of swans.

He cannot do anything without renewing his ID-card and walks around Paris trying to find work. As he does so, he gets to know people from a migrant camp which he tries to help. He notices gangs of crooks trying to use the migrants and threaten the people he loves. These worlds are very well described and you are there with Arnault as he tries to come back to a normal life.

Lucy is a lawyer working for a fancy firm, making a lot of money. One day the police invades the offices. It seems the management has, in their fight for more money, stretched the laws and done illegal business. Lucy happens to come into contact with Arnauld who she meets when he rescues a small boy from falling from a building. Hearing about his case, she starts working for the voluntary lawyers who helps people who cannot afford paying for one.

Arnault is like Little Jeremy, a good soul that happens to be used by lesser people. From page one you love this character, his sens of honesty, his acceptance of how the world is, and by wanting to help where he can.

Once again this is a lovely story of real people. Garai has a talent for describing the life of ordinary people, the poor and the exposed in society. Highlighting what is wrong in our society and how honest people have to fight for their rights. As the story continues Arnault's and Lucy's paths are crossing more than once, when Lucy is trying to get Arnault acquitted from the crime he was accused of.

It is a short book, only 122 pages, but filled with wonderful, and not so wonderful, characters making up this story that takes place during a few months. There were some chapters in the middle of the book where the story turned somewhat unclear, and I could not really grasp what was happening. But that was soon over and as you near the end of the book, the thrill of the story is rising, and it is difficult to put down.

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Jun 27, 2023

Sounds good! Emma @ Words And Peace

Jul 18, 2023
Replying to

It was. His writing is different, without me being able to clarify that. But the characters in his books are so real. I think that is why they are so fascinating. We can all recognise ourselves in them and their lives.

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