Live Fast by Brigitte Giraud

Title: Live Fast.
Original Title: Vivre Vite.
Writer(s): Brigitte Giraud.
Language: French.
Publisher: Flammarion.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: August 24th, 2022.
Pages: 2008.
Genre(s): Fiction.
ISBN13: 9782080207340.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.


We often live life on the fast lane, continuously moving forward without taking a moment to look back, avoiding trouble as we blow by them with nothing but the horizon in our line of sight. Taking much of everything life has to offer for granted, it is at these moments that we are in fact in our most vulnerable states. To take an instant to absorb the little things of life, to remember the people that surround us and bring us happiness, can make all the difference in how we approach life but the challenge of shifting gears, going slower, is one that remains difficult for many. Awarded for the 2022 Prix Goncourt, French author Brigitte Giraud writes an intimate story where she tries to make sense of destiny’s work in the loss she has had to deal with for the past decades.

What is Live Fast about? This autobiographical novel is the author’s dissection of a tragic moment in her life, allowing her to reflect upon the events that led to the motorcycle accident that cost the life of her husband Claude on June 22nd, 1999. Over twenty years later, she wonders if there might have been more to the accident than meets the eye, if it wasn’t a matter of luck, destiny, or coincidences, and if she could’ve done something about it through the smallest of actions. Her mind thus steers her back to where things might have in fact all begun, the moment when they had bought a new house, a house for which she got the keys but in which her husband would never be able to live with her and their child.

“Sociologue, flic ou écrivain, on ne sait plus, on délire, on veut comprendre comment on devient un chiffre dans des statistiques, une virgule dans le grand tout. Alors qu’on se croyait unique et immortel.”

Brigitte Giraud

Author Brigitte Giraud sets off on quite the introspective journey in search of closure through this tale of what-ifs. Right from the get-go, in the first chapter, she lists an impressive amount of circumstances pertaining to their life together and then looks to tackle them one after the other, dedicating each chapter to these countless what-ifs, with an investigative and analytical eye, while presenting them chronologically, in an attempt to understand how things went down and how things could’ve occurred differently. At first intriguing, often related to a myriad of decisions made at the moment, unaware of their true impact on each other’s lives, she does at times get lost in banalities, clearly highlighting the author’s controlled distress in the face of destiny. Each of these short what-if chapters helps reconstruct the events that eventually led to her husband’s demise but few are truly interesting once you get used to the simplicity of the structure and superficiality of her writing.

There is still something intimate and at times poignant and emotional in the way she writes, capturing a certain sense of urgency and the absence of control over life, but once you reach the finish line, this autobiography feels void of substance, mostly relevant for the author, answering to her desire to put into words her frustrations regarding how things went down but completely forgettable for the reader who follows along in her writing therapy. The exercise in itself is applaudable and does capture the frustrations that one can feel in the midst of a grieving process. After all, who wouldn’t waste away the days following the tragic death of a loved one to think about all the microdetails that led up to it, of all the things, if they had been done differently, with less selfishness and virtues of patience, could’ve saved a life? However, by the end of this story, there isn’t much left to take home and one can’t help but wonder how this won the Prix Goncourt.

Live Fast is a curious yet forgettable writing exercise to deal with one’s grief as it explores the fast-paced indulgence of life.



16 thoughts on “Live Fast by Brigitte Giraud

  1. I’m sorry, but that isn’t healthy. Pulling off the scab of grief never lets the healing actually begin. I could understand for the first year, but after that, well, it means she couldn’t go on with her life, and that’s just tragic. But 20 years and that is beyond sad, and by that I mean bad.

    It is also the kind of thing that one should keep in one’s journal instead of vomiting up for the masses to devour…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awards can be funny things, as sometimes are the groups who give them. For some it can seem obvious why they were given. But other times we’re left wondering what we missed. I can see how this type of book, if written well, could perhaps help others through their own similar struggles if only to let them know they’re not alone. But I think it can take some work to turn the strictly personal into something slightly more universal. Hopefully writing this at least allowed the author to finally move forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that for a very specific audience, this might indeed be quite a wonderful story, absolutely relatable and all. Unfortunately, even then, I feel like it’s missing something. Hopefully, for the author in particular, this turned out to be a great piece of writing that will help her move on with her life.


  3. Great review, Lashaan! It seems like an interesting book and I can understand how it could be very therapeutic, but knowing that it was written 20 years after the accident makes it just really sad. I’d actually be quite curious to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I for once am not a fan of “what if”. Because we can’t change the past but just live with the consequences. So aside torturing us, that kind of introspection has no purpose. At least that’s my life philosophy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your great review resonates with what I have read so far abut this book. My conclusion was I shuoldn’t waste my time with this.
    The current French craze (I’m French by the way) with auto-fiction drives me nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for an excellent review about a book that I probably wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole. Like you, I profoundly hope the author got what she needed from such an exercise, but over the course of my life, I’ve learnt that coulda, woulda, shoulda tends to lead me into some dark cul-de-sacs without providing much relief. After all, it doesn’t change anything and only leads to regret, doesn’t it? Huge respect that you stayed with this challenging read:)). By the way – do you regularly DNF books, or persevere?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahahah that made me laugh, Sarah! Yep, I too think that dwelling on the past over all those “what if” scenarios is an unhealthy activity even if some people can’t help doing it nonetheless. I actually never DNF. I prefer persevering through it, even if I despise it, so that I can then deliver raw scathing reviews! 😀 Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, Sarah!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s