The Reunion – Guillaume Musso – Audible Book Review
by Patrick Viale
In Guillaume Musso’s acclaimed and sophisticated thriller set around a class reunion at an exclusive international school on the Côte d’Azur, we see how events of the past are never fully forgotten as they come back to haunt a former pupil, Thomas, now a successful writer living in New York. Initially reluctant to return to France, Thomas feels impelled to come back and visit his former school because of his obsession with the unexplained disappearance twenty-five years previously of another pupil, Vinca Rockwell, with whom he was in love.
In midwinter 1992, during a heavy snowstorm, Vinca, one of the most brilliant and beautiful pupils at the school, had apparently run away with her philosophy teacher and neither had ever been seen again. Her disappearance has taken on an iconic status with some of the current female students at the school, with Facebook pages and undergraduate groups dedicated to romanticising it, and was also the subject of an investigative book by one of her classmates, Sebastian. Thomas, who was one of the last people to speak to her, knows that the accepted version cannot be true and is determined to try to discover what really happened to Vinca and free himself of the guilt that has haunted him since her disappearance.
Almost as soon as he arrives back for the reunion it becomes apparent that someone else suspects that the official version of Vinca’s disappearance is a lie. Enigmatic notes that he and a former friend, Maxime, receive make it clear that someone holds them responsible for the whole incident and is set on revenge. They learn also that a major renovation project is planned for the school building during which part of the demolition will probably reveal secrets they would prefer to keep hidden. What follows is a roller-coaster of false trails, unexpected revelations and confused relationships that leave us wondering to the last page how the story will resolve itself.
Due to be made into a six-part tv miniseries in 2021 by MGM, Musso’s tale is very much character-driven with Thomas struggling not only with an unresolved obsession for Vinca but also with his ambivalent feelings towards his parents and former classmates.
Hugely successful in France on its publication in 2019, The Reunion is an engaging and enigmatic tale that holds our interest throughout. At times, perhaps, too labyrinthine, Musso sometimes loads his story down with too much detail of place and atmosphere, which, while it paints a vivid picture of the setting, does also slow down the pace. The main reader on this recording is the renowned British actor, Samuel West, with other roles taken by Cassie Layton, Clare Wille and David Rintoul.
The recording is available from audible.co.uk and lasts 8hrs and 2mins