Three Strong Women

by Marie NDiaye

I was slightly disconcerted by the abrupt endings when reading these three connected but separate stories based in Senegal and France. However the sense of being an outsider and not in control of your destiny is in fact what is experienced by the characters involved in this powerful, and at times, surreal book.


No, he was not cross: his daughter Norah was there, perched among the branches that now were bereft of flowers, surrounded by the bitter smell of the tiny leaves; she was there in the dark, in her lime-green dress, at a safe distance from her father's phosphorescence. Why would she come and alight on the flame tree if it was not to make peace, once and for all? His heart beat languidly, his mind was lethargic. He heard his daughter breathing and it did not make him angry.
Translated by John Fletcher



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