3 out of 4 stars
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Lunch at the Beau Rivage is a short story consisting precisely of twenty-seven pages. Sam and Frank were classmates in primary school and hail from a modest background. Sam is a social butterfly and marries a well-to-do girl and climbs up the social ladder through what the author fittingly describes as an “oily tongue.”On the contrary, Frank is reserved and works at a furniture-making workshop. Economic circumstances plunge him to the lower staves of the socio-economic ladder. The remarkable story unfolds when the former school friends meet by chance after a long time.
In a world of inequality, where the ever-widening gap between the haves and have nots is prevalent, who is the undignified? Is it the ones who lose out on material possessions, or is it the ones who lose out on their morals? The author vividly captures the interplay of money, power, and morality in this short book.
A quick, yet impactful read, Lunch at the Beau Rivage explores the themes of social status, class, and perception. Nadia B. Porter is a good storyteller. She has adopted a method of narration that takes a neutral look at the events happening in the story. You do get to follow what is going on in the mind of the characters, but it is limited. Most of the feelings of the characters are left for the reader to assume.
Lunch at the Beau Rivage steers you beneath a seemingly routine social interaction and displays the misuse of privilege by the wealthy. It shows how easy it is for the rich to be deviant of the social norms without facing any consequences when the exact thing is not tolerated in the poor.
The beauty of the story is that it subtly coerces you to read in between the lines. I was pleasantly engaged in trying to understand the feelings and motives of the characters. The implication of the book crept on me stealthily after I sat pondering the reverberations of its ending.
Lunch at the Beau Rivage packs a strong punch, despite its short length, and it is pretty refreshing. Unfortunately, I encountered more than ten grammatical errors in the copy I received. Furthermore, this copy does not have a cover page or any page numbers. The book could improve in this aspect. Other than that, I have no criticisms to make. I give this beautiful piece of fiction 3 out of 4 stars. The only reason that I have not given it a full rating due to the grammatical errors.
Lunch at the Beau Rivage would be a riveting choice for avid readers of short stories with unexpected endings. I particularly recommend this book to people who enjoy reading short stories by Anton Chekhov.
Lunch at the Beau Rivage
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