The Truth about Marie

by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

A highly original, teasing novel with a compelling mix of real and imagined. An excellent translation aids the sheer, matter-of-fact storytelling and yet there is a power in the writing style that gives the book an intellectual frisson. Masterful, minimalist and full of emotional intensity.


She wore a baggy white shirt dampened by the humidity and had her old flip-flops on her feet, one of the daisies was in poor shape, probably damaged on some dirt path, looking as if its petals had been plucked (he loves me, he loves me not) by a stray and wistful hand, on the whole a touching spectacle. Marie suddenly looked serious, she became pensive and stepped toward me, and I wrapped my arms around her, for a moment we stood like that against the stove, holding each other in the kitchen, lulled by the delectable bubbling of the tomato sauce simmering over a low flame. It was only an isolated moment of intimacy, but I understood then that we’d perhaps never been as close as when we were apart.
Translated by Matthew B Smith


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