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From the acclaimed literary celebrity–the first black woman ever to win the Prix Goncourt–a harrowing and beautiful novel of the travails of West African immigrants in France, giving voice as never before to Europe’s most unwanted.
This is the story of three women who say no: Norah, a French-born lawyer who finds herself in Senegal, summoned by her estranged tyrannical father to save another victim of his paternity, Fanta, who leaves a contented life as a teacher in Dakar to follow her white French boyfriend back to France, where his depression and dislocation poison everything, and Khady, a penniless widow put out by her husband’s family with nothing but the name of a distant cousin (the aforementioned Fanta) in France (a place she can scarcely conceive). As these three lives intertwine, each woman manages an astonishing feat of self-preservation against the incomprehensibly methodical and relentless humiliation that is the unacknowledged life of those who have made themselves the fastest-growing, and most-reviled, people in Europe. In Marie NDiaye’s luminous narration we see with stunning emotional exactitude the progress by which ordinary women discover unimagined reserves of strength.