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Vengeance is Mine

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529417371

Price: £12

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*A GUARDIAN BEST TRANSLATED NOVEL OF 2023*

*A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 2023 FINALIST*

*A WORDS WITHOUT BORDERS BEST TRANSLATED BOOK OF 2023*

“A powerful story of mothers and daughters” Guardian

“A haunting, mysterious tour de force”
Lucy Scholes, Prospect

“I was hypnotised from the first word to the last” Tess Gunty, author of The Rabbit Hutch

“[A] fiercely intelligent story: everyone is complex and full of shadows, as life is” Mariana Enríquez, author of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed


When Gilles Principaux walks into Maître Susane’s legal practice seeking representation for his wife, his presence triggers memories from her childhood she had long buried. Gilles’ wife is charged with drowning their three children, a case that will be splashed across the news media in Bordeaux and beyond. So why has he entrusted his wife’s fate to her small, unremarkable practice?

Maître Susane can’t shake the feeling that she has met him before, that something happened between them one afternoon when she was barely ten and he was fourteen, something sinister she has never known how to remember. But Gilles seems so at ease her in presence that Maître Susane begins to believe that her memory must be playing tricks on her.

Haunted by a past that both escapes and consumes her, Maître Susane fights to hold on to her memory, her identity and the chance she’s been given to avenge herself.

Translated from the French by Jordan Stump.

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Reviews

A novel of concentric haunting, summoning ghosts into the room with prose that shimmers, cuts, and sings. Unflinching and restrained, Vengeance is Mine sails its readers into uncharted psychological waters. I was hypnotised from the first word to the last
Tess Gunty, author of The Rabbit Hutch
In this disquieting, quietly beautiful novel, Marie NDiaye writes about an unimaginable crime placing around it a world of confusion, trauma, and memories of a past that cannot be trusted. There's more questions than answers in this fiercely intelligent story: everyone is complex and full of shadows, as life is
Mariana Enríquez, author of Our Share of Night
NDiaye balances external and internal revelations to create a powerful story of mothers and daughters, and of what happens when a parent's unconditional love breaks down
John Self, Guardian
[NDiaye] is a master at agitating, probing and upending expectations...In 'Vengeance Is Mine,' NDiaye circles a familiar configuration of ideas: trauma and memory, class anxiety, isolation and otherness, the warped savagery of domestic life, the rupture between parents and their children. But she also considers the texture of justice - what it means, how it's determined and who enacts it...Appreciating this moody, sensual and sometimes feverish prose requires submission - to the grooves of language, the performance of storytelling
Lovia Gyarkye, New York Times Book Review
The magnificence of [NDiaye's] writing, in all its shocks of perception, makes you feel that by rights her name should come with the same pantheonic glow that attends, say, Annie Ernaux or Elena Ferrante
Hermione Hoby, 4Columns
The central ideas in "Vengeance Is Mine" are, thrillingly, as difficult to pin down as the identities of its characters. In one light, it's a scathing look at the simmering desperation provoked by France's rigid structures of authority and power. But it's also an uber-feminist rewriting of a plot made familiar by texts from "Medea" to Leïla Slimani's bestseller "The Perfect Nanny" (2018) [published as "Lullaby" in the UK], in which oppression, writ large, drives a woman to horrifying violence against the children in her care. And, read in a less outraged mood, it's just a quiet book about a quiet woman, quietly fragmenting - no more, no less...[NDiaye] is a poet of uncertainty. Her ability to simultaneously embody all the fractured parts of a character's mind makes aspects of Susane's spiral that might otherwise seem unbelievable - can she really not know whether she is the mother of Rudy's child? - come across as engrossingly, utterly human
Washington Post
In her novels, Ndiaye plunges her characters, usually women, into a visceral experience of difference, often without naming what that difference is... her texts still inspire a paranoia about how to read her protagonists, catching us in a game of complicity
Vulture, New York Magazine
A haunting, mysterious tour de force
Lucy Scholes, Prospect
Vengeance Is Mine might present an answer to how the "trauma plot" - in which a character works through a damaging experience from their past - can remain fresh
Financial Times
The result is a complex knot of guilt, fear and obsession, which compresses a great deal into 240 pages without ever seeming clotted
John Self, Guardian
NDiaye's award-winning writing is dreamy, elusive, and brilliant, shifting genres and forms...Vengeance is Mine is, to my mind, one of NDiaye's very best novels, with a devastating plot and a continual sense of surprise. It rewards repeat reading and careful attention
Adam Dalva, Words Without Borders
NDiaye's award-winning writing is dreamy, elusive, and brilliant, shifting genres and forms...Vengeance is Mine is, to my mind, one of NDiaye's very best novels, with a devastating plot and a continual sense of surprise. It rewards repeat reading and careful attention
Adam Dalva, Words Without Borders