Madeleine Bourdouxhe

La Femme de Gilles

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Elisa is Gilles’ wife and her devotion to him is passionate and all-consuming. Her daily life is permeated by thoughts of him – thoughts of his return from the factory, thoughts of his footsteps on the path as he arrives home each evening, when, in the minutes before his return, she is overcome with paralysing anticipation. But when Gilles suddenly finds himself powerfully and helplessly attracted to Elisa’s younger sister, Victorine, Elisa’s world is overturned. The joys of home and family are destroyed and her desperation is so profound that it begins to threaten her every sense of reality and the core of her existence. Set among the dusty lanes and rolling valleys of rural Belgium in the 1930s, La Femme de Gilles is a sensual and shattering novel about infidelity, lust, and the loneliness of losing the one thing that matters most. ‘One of the more remarkable literary discoveries of the last few years.’ – Jonathan Coe, Guardian ‘A marvellous, rediscovered novel about selfless love.’ – Kate Kellaway, Observer ‘A haunting, slim novel which has the mesmeric inevitability of classical tragedy.’ – Independent on Sunday ‘La Femme de Gilles is about physical passion, its etasies, aberrations and ruthlessness . . . quiet, compassionate and unsparing.’ – Times Literary Supplement
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127 printed pages
Original publication
Daunt Books


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