Winner of the Prix Goncourt in 1998, this book is the work of one of France's most celebrated and interesting novelists writing at the height of her powers. It is fiction that leads readers through fascinating chambers of life where autobiography is constantly reimagined. A darkly comic novel about four women aging less-than-gracefully, Trading Secrets takes us to an academic conference in Kansas where, in an encounter between Aurore, a French woman, and her American counterpart, Gloria, the differences between their two cultures become sharply apparent. The result is a bitingly funny portrait of painfully complex, psychologically damaged individuals, all of whom have been, in some sense, "colonized." The novel also offers an incisive picture of a French posture toward things American, from race relations to feminism to academia. As Paule Constant herself has said: "C'est un livre en miroir." The book is a mirror, both in how its characters reflect one another and in what it shows us of ourselves and our world.
About the Author
Paule Constant is the author of seven novels, including The Governor's Daughter (Nebraska 1998), which was a finalist for the Prix Goncourt in 1994.
Betsy Wing's translations include The Governor's Daughter, Hélène Cixous's The Book of Promethea, and Edouard Glissant's The Fourth Century (all available from the University of Nebraska Press).
Margot Miller teaches French at the University of Maryland.