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All My Friends by Marie NDiaye

“NDiaye, who received France’s most prestigious literary prize for Three Powerful Women and may be that nation’s most startling new literary voice, brings to life an electrifying rogue’s gallery of social outcasts, disgruntled wives, and loony strivers.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A superb short story collection. . . . Her oneiric tales suggest a necessary truth about contemporary life that explains why she is increasingly—and justly—recognized as a major world writer.” — Rain Taxi Review of Books

Following her universally acclaimed American debut—Three Strong Women—French phenom Marie NDiaye returns with five intricately narrated stories showcasing characters both robustly real and emotionally unfathomable. All My Friends opens with the fraught story of a patriarch who is losing his grip on reality, even as he falls deeply in love with his former student, now his housekeeper. NDiaye further probes the enduring effects of past tragedies in “The Death of Claude François,” a striking dissection of the tug of war between a doctor and her impoverished patient over a dead husband.

Later, NDiaye gives us the harsh tale of a young boy longing to escape his life of poverty by becoming a sex slave—just like the beautiful young man that lived next door. The curt, Kafkaesque “Revelation” involves a woman who takes her mentally challenged son on a bus ride to the city: they both know that she’ll return, but he won’t. And in the claustrophobic, psychologically dense “Brulard’s Day,” NDiaye sweeps in and out of the confused, aggressive mind of a woman tottering between sanity and madness.

Chilling, provocative, and touching, All My Friends shows a master stylist using her unique gifts to render the personal horrors we fight every day to suppress—but in All My Friends they’re allowed to roam free.

More praise for All My Friends:

“[NDiaye's] is a unique voice among other contemporary French writers, and her fictional vision both intricate and distinctive. She is an example of exactly the kind of non-Anglophone writer who should have already been translated in full. Hopefully, this new translation will renew interest in her work, prompt further translations and give English readers the chance to experience her entire contribution to world letters.”
The Rumpus

“These stories are not linked, but the emotional force that pervades them is so consistent you feel that Marie NDiaye’s fantastic characters belong together. This book is a world.” — SF Weekly, summer reading pick

“All five of the stories that make up this slim book are masterful. . . . NDiaye creates a portable unease that slips from one story to the next, never losing its force, or its accusatory tone—You don’t see anything? You ought to see something.”
The Collagist

“NDiaye beautifully examines the effects of the passage of time and of feelings—between friends, family, lovers and places—that have since collapsed into haunting memories and an opaque present that continuously elude our grasp.”
The Tottenville Review


Marie NDiaye met her father for the first time at age 15, two years before publishing her first novel. She is the recipient of the Prix Femina and the Prix Goncourt, the latter being highest honor a French writer can receive. She is the author of over a dozen plays and works of prose, including Trois femmes puissantes, published as Three Strong Women by Knopf in 2012.

Jordan Stump is a two-time nominee for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. One of the leading translators of innovative French literature, he has translated books by Nobel laureate Claude Simon, plus Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Eric Chevillard, and Jules Verne’s French-language novel The Mysterious Island.

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