Marie NDiaye

  • Vengeance is mine
  • Literature

Maître Susane, 42, a lawyer, receives a visit in her office from a certain Gilles Principaux. She thinks she knows this man from her youth: There was an encounter with an older, impressive boy from a wealthy family that gave her life a whole new direction. But she has little recollection of what actually happened. Did he get too close to her? Principaux asks her to take on the defense of his wife, who has committed a horrific crime: killing their three children. Susane takes the case – and falls into a bottomless pit. What is going on with this mother? Who is this Gilles Principaux really? And is she herself even who she thinks she is?
What is truth here, what is a lie? And: is it possible to live without certainty?

NDiaye’s stirring novel about a woman in an extreme situation is the literary event of the year in France: a sophisticated, abysmal play with expectations and fears.

Marie NDiaye, born near Orléans in 1967, published her first novel at the age of 17; the publisher was impressed by her powerful style. Further novels and plays followed; the play Papa doit manger (German: Papa muss essen) premiered at the Comédie-Française in 2003. In 2009, she wrote the screenplay for the film White Material with film director Claire Denis. She has received numerous prizes for her books, including the Prix Goncourt for Three Strong Women – the first black author to do so.

Language: German/French

Moderation and interpretation: Cornelia Ruhe

In cooperation with the Deutsch-Französischer Kulturkreis (dfk)

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