Marie NDiaye’s harrowing and subtly crafted novel of a woman captive to a secret shame that ensnares three generations. Translated by Jordan Stump.
Clarisse is an orphan. Or so she tells her husband and daughter. But every month she makes a secret visit to her mother Ladivine - a poor black housekeeper. This 25-year deception takes its toll. Her husband leaves her, frustrated at the gulf of silence that has grown up between them. She finds solace in another man, but this peace comes at a terrible price. It will be left to her daughter - also called Ladivine, without knowing why - to work out who her mother was and what happened to her.