I really enjoyed reading Mimosa, a thriller with gang warfare and a philosophical journey as a backdrop. The main character, Tessa, is in search of her true identity, to the extent of wondering if she isn't the person her detective agency is looking for. In Vincent Gessler's world, when you kill a criminal, you also have to aim at the tank that their clone and those following come from. Immortality is complicated! [...]
The novel is constructed like a film. Moreover, all you have to do is consult the appendices with author-character interviews and scenes cut from the montage! It's mind-blowingly crazy... [...]
To continue with the cinema analogy, the soundtrack works perfectly. How delightful to have "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics playing along through the twists and turns of this philosophical detective investigation!
Where I was a bit worried about the permanent delirium being a bit unnecessary, I found myself confronted with the permanent delirium being used as a framework for reflecting on memory, memories and the construction of identity as regards the intact or deformed perception of these self-same memories. [...]
The novel is extremely dynamic and Vincent Gessler alternates magnificently from the most brilliant phases of action to the introspective reflection of his main character, Tessa. [...]
To sum up, it's really well constructed and source of quite a few smiles and laughs, even the occasional chuckle.
Le blog de Viinz
Have you read Cygnis, Vincent Gessler's first novel? Well this is NOTHING like it. How a young author can manage to write so elegantly in two such different worlds, I don't know, but I do know that from now on I'm going to read EVERYTHING he writes.
It has been said that there is nothing new left to write? He certainly hasn't read Mimosa.
Georges Bormand, Phénix-Web
The Two Guns Detective Company and Associates Agency is on the trail of a particularly gifted killer who leaves behind him only a trace of mimosa, well only a picture of mimosa. Having lost two of her colleagues in a set up, Tessa has to find new companions and then watch her back. Her only lead takes her straight into the hands of a legendary and particularly sadistic crook.
Mimosa starts like a classic thriller with a detective agency on the trail of a dangerous criminal, with a slight touch of cyberpunk since the latter implants images or orders in the minds of other people. Apart from one small detail, Tessa's friends are called Ed Harris and Mighty Mike, but they are also lookalikes of the actor and the rapper since everyone seems to be the lookalike of someone else, apart from the heroine.
So the new team of Crocodile Dundee and Whooping have to go and question a slightly retarded Luc Besson, sectioned in an asylum, or get themselves into a restaurant run by Hitler and Stalin! Certainly this could resemble comedy and on one level it is, but it is vital to the story and its world where there is always the question of personality and especially that of the heroine, because poor Tessa believes she is unique but will discover that this really isn't the case.
The novel in fact soon gets going in a rather original science fiction framework where clones and AIs come into view, but also the mysterious brotherhood of philosophical killers, killers that erase their own memories after each contract. Themes of memory and reality will thus meet up since both seem to be manipulated by exterior forces that don't necessarily have good intentions towards the protagonists of this literary UFO.
Mimosa is also a blockbuster with a rather unbelievable cast list, since it mainly contains lookalikes, and with a story going every which way with explosions and shootings. The characters are tossed from one cyberpunk passage to another more philosophic one where the characters must try to recover their own personalities. And the author knows how to manipulate that, thus assuring perfect intertextuality.
This seems to have as much to do with the cinema as with literature. Mimosa mixes the two with wicked pleasure so we meet up with actors, singers, fictional and historic characters in what could have been a joyous madhouse if it weren't carefully controlled, which it is. The novel is in fact a kind of SF thriller à la Richard Morgan where you hear more of the characters than the action.
There is also a lot of action in Mimosa and the author lets us have it in a particularly explosive and jubilatory ending where this crazy universe develops and blooms both on the level of its preconceptions and its themes. And so that we don't feel done out, the author has provided us with unusual appendices with a bonus DVD and traditional epilogues.
So here is an original novel outside the usual limits of SF, with iconoclastic images and old idols that probably won't be aware of this homage to them, as well as those who may hear of it and probably not appreciate it. So much more than a great Hollywood SF film, Mimosa is therefore an extraordinary novel and also one that is impossible to put down once started.
Such an enjoyable mess!
This novel, stuffed with popular cultural references has a breath-taking rhythm, which doesn't detract from its thought-provoking nature. The way the heroine questions her identity and the links with virtual reality bring to mind the issues raised in Philip K. Dick's writing or in films like "Ghost in the Shell"; the humour as well. The author has managed to put in place a kind of meta-fiction by referring to everything he likes in fields as varied as the novel, the cinema, television, song, show business... with the mimosa as the central point to give a semblance of order to all this mess.
It all works perfectly, we are not for one second bored reading this funny, well-paced novel, stuffed with references and allusions, and which makes us think about our relationship with fiction... and the way that in the end everyone is their own character. In some way we are all fiction, and moreover don't be surprised if you find yourself in Mimosa too!
Tony Sanchez, Actusf