Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Impending Departure / Jacques Vandroux

Reviewed by: Keith Nixon

Genre: Psychological Thriller / Short Story Collection

Approximate word count: 10-15,000 words

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Jacques Vandroux is an engineer and so travels a lot. Writing is his way of filling his time productively. He has written several successful novels.


Three short stories, all with the same premise. A man is seated in the business class section of a plane, the space next to him is unoccupied. Who will place themselves there and what will happen?


To be fair each of the stories does begin with the man, Sebastien, seated in business class. However, the back story differs.

In the opening tale, The Contract, we learn a French lawyer (not until we are 19% through the story do we learn his name) has been negotiating with a company. Unfortunately the deal, unknown to him, is duplicitous. The Frenchman fears for his life as the business he was working with seems to be headed up by a dangerous man. A woman, just prior to departure, sits next to him.

The next, Fear of Flying, opens again with Sebastien seated next to Sophie. However no mention is made of the previous scenario. Sebastien instead recounts a previous problem he had when flying.

Snow in New York produces the same seating plan, but this time the passengers had been trapped for a couple of days in a hotel due to snow. Sophie and Sebastien had spent the time between getting to know each other. Sophie gets onto the plane, but this turns out to be a dream and an irritating woman is in Sophie’s place.

They are an okay read, however in the 2nd and 3rd stories all the time spent building the premise of The Contract is eliminated. So on each occasion we have to go through another process of learning about Sebastien’s situation. I struggled to get to know the characters, having to relearn about them three times. As a result the characters were sketchy and therefore I couldn’t connect with the tales. In the end I didn’t really care.

Impending Departure was originally published in French. The translation into English was well done.



Format/Typo Issues:

Issues with layout of speech.

Rating: ** Two Stars

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