Book of the Week: The Adversary
“On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…”
These are the chilling words that begin Emmanuel Carrere’s account of a terrible true crime. Romand was a well-respected French doctor with a happy family life, or so the people around him were led to believe. He was in fact a fraud, pretending to be a medical doctor for 18 years and stealing money from his friends and family that they believed they were investing in profitable business ventures.
When he was about to be found out, he murdered his wife, followed by his children the next day, then his parents and their dog. He then attempted to strangle his former mistress but failed and made her promise to stay silent about his attempt to kill her.
Three and a half years later Romand was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 22 years. He is said to suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, which often manifests as a feeling of superiority and a distinct lack of empathy.
This book examines Romand's deceptions and crimes, and explores the extremes to which seemingly ordinary people can go.
“As a writer, Carrere is straight berserk; as a storyteller he is so freakishly talented, so unassuming in grace and power that you only realize the hold he's got on you when you attempt to pull away... You say: True crime and literature? I don't believe it. I say: Believe it.” -- Junot Diaz