Life Is Short and Desire Endless

Patrick Lapeyre, trans. from the French by Adriana Hunter. Other Press, $16.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-59051-484-9
An appealing oddness of language elevates Lapeyre’s English-language debut above the standard love triangle story. Louis Bleriot-Ringuet, known as Blériot, is French; Nora Neville is English; Murphy Blomdale is American. Murphy works in finance, and Blériot, married to Sabine, works as a translator but often relies on his parents, friends, and wife for money. Nora, who takes acting classes, is “a strange, fairly unstable girl... both sassy and oddly taciturn,” in Murphy’s view. They live together in London until Nora moves to Paris and begins an affair with Blériot. Murphy misses her terribly, finds little satisfaction at work, and visits a childhood friend of Nora’s to gain insight into Nora’s character. In Paris, Nora finds work in a hotel and continues her affair with Blériot, but the attendant complications, including Sabine’s growing suspicions, bring Nora to miss Murphy, setting in motion events that will change the lives of all involved. With the exception of a postmodern turn late in the narrative, Lapeyre’s novel, winner of the 2010 Prix Femina, engaging though it is, won’t take readers anywhere they haven’t been before. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2012
Release date: 06/19/2012
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