I just finished reading this novel, “Les Yeux Jaunes des Crocodiles” (Literal translation: Crocodiles’ yellow eyes), by Katherine Pancol. This book is in French and English translation hasn’t been published yet. I read the Chinese translation of this book.
A story of the lives of two sisters, Iris and Josephine. Iris is a beautiful, rich, and elegant Parisian, who is married to a successful lawyer. Her life is summed up in a whirlwind vain. Her younger sister, Josephine, is a literary historian specializing in the study of the 12th century history. She is not as beautiful or rich as her older sister. She is married with two daughters and lives in the suburbs with a husband leaving her for another woman and she struggles financially.
Iris gets bored with her life and dreams of becoming an author. She claims to her friend that she is writing a novel. Coached by her lie, Iris persuades her sister to write a book for her. Abandoned by her husband and cornered by debt, Josephine submits to Iris’ request. Since their childhood, Josephine has been used and dominated by her older sister. But after the novel is published, their fate will switch.
“Les Yeux Jaunes des Crocodiles” is probably the first French contemporary fiction that I’ve read in recent years. I was surprised at the complexity of each character. The author really captures the darkness and intricacies of human relationship, particularly of the struggles, jealousy, and competitiveness among family members. There are no true heroine or bad guys in this novel. Even though I could sympathize more with Josephine, the poor submissive younger sister, I could understand why Iris behaves in such a dominant way and fills her life with bunch of lies. Katherine Pancol describes in great length of their childhood and how each sister grows up with different personalities and made them who they are after they grow up.
I really enjoy reading this book, especially the character Josephine. I could relate to her submissiveness, and her struggles with life, and her kindness toward other people. In our lives, we always believe grass is greener on the other side. We struggle with our own and try to change ourselves. In the end, we all need to learn to face the imperfections within ourselves and in our lives and deal with the issues face-to-face. I think that facing your life directly and learns to deal with is the main lessons the author wants us to learn from her novel.