The tale is simple, if grim: a disenfranchised teenage boy from the housing projects on the outskirts of Paris rapes and murders the manager of the supermarket where his mother works. But Gerard Gavarry is a writer who knows how literary inventiveness can shed new light on a serious subject, and Hoppla! tells its story three times, in three separate sections, each in a different tone or mode and with different sets of images and vocabularies. The first relies on tropical images and the characters speak in a lexicon borrowed from the coconut industry--as if the Parisian suburbs had been transported to an exotic shore; the second is nautical in nature; the third invokes the mythology of the centaur, and ancient Greece butts up against modern-day France. Gavarry's bloody and poetic narrative takes dead aim at the social, political, and personal roots of violence, and argues for the transformative power of fiction.