The Scapegoat is a light-hearted entertainment. Its plot has enough twists and turns to keep one hooked, and though it's somewhat surreal and not particularly plausible it doesn't take itself seriously enough for that to be a problem. Much of the entertainment comes from the menagerie of characters, starting with Ben himself and the extraordinary family he heads, consisting of five half-siblings (the result of their mother's wanderlust) and a stinking, epileptic dog. Then there is the statuesque investigative journalist with whom Ben becomes involved, a Nazi-sympathising bookseller, police inspector Coudrier, and assorted other denizens of the Beleville Arab quarter of Paris in which The Scapegoat is set.
One wonders how well Ian Monk has translated what must clearly have been heavily idiomatic dialect in the original, but perhaps this is comparatively easy for someone who has also translated Georges Perec.