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“An appealing oddness of language elevates Lapeyre’s English-language debut above the standard love triangle story.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Lapeyre writes with great wit and sly craft on the miseries of unfulfilled relationships.” —Kirkus
“There are no easy answers in Lapeyre’s discomfiting novel… but the journey is absorbing.” —New York Times Book Review
Given that the time difference between London and Paris is one hour, it is at about four thirty on that same May day that Murphy Blomdale opens the door to his apartment, puts down his luggage and, after a couple of minutes, has the chilling feeling that Nora is no longer there.
Everything around him seems strangely calm and lifeless, the windows out onto the courtyard have been left open and, in the space of three days, silence has crept into the apartment, infiltrating every nook and cranny, yet giving a different resonance from one room to the next. The place has never felt so vast and abandoned to him.
Time itself seems to be standing still, exactly as if this moment of his life, this slice of afternoon, has seized up altogether and nothing will ever come after it.
Shaking off this morbid spell, Murphy carries on with his exploration, going from the living room to his study, then his study to their bedroom: the wardrobe is empty, the drawers tipped out as if after a burglary and, instead of frames with their photos in them, all that is left on the pedestal table is a little layer of dust and a set of keys.
Anyone else in his position would already have accepted the evidence.
But not him. He can’t seem to believe it. In fact, he peers at himself in the mirror to see whether he looks as if he believes it, but no, he has the eyes of someone who doesn’t.
There must be some explanation for this sort of denial. Murphy Blomdale is big on voluntarism, he is one hundred percent American, both austere and hyperactive, held up as an example by his bosses; this is a man who is confronted daily by the anarchic tides of the financial world, by the unpredictability of markets, the speed of exchanges, and the volatility of capitals. In short, nothing that might prepare him for being the male lead in a romantic drama one day.
Posted June 26, 2012
This is a love story, no doubt about that. But it’s not the type that will leave you fantasizing about your high school sweetheart. This is a glimpse into the darker sides of love and lust. This story is all about character development, with very little action. The narration is broken up into chapters about two men, and one woman, who have had their lives turned upside down by Nora. Nothing is written from Nora’s point of view, which keeps her as enigmatic and elusive to the reader as she is to the other characters. Nora could easily represent something larger than herself, considering the intense longing that follows in her wake. This is a great book for someone interested in psychological development and relationships and was the winner of the 2010 Prix Femina.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.