A Sunday in Ville-d’Avray
by Dominique Barberis
I was in the melancholy state of mind that often comes over me when I go to see my sister, and I think I started by getting a little lost . . .
It’s a Sunday in early September and a woman leaves muggy Paris to visit her sister in the western suburbs of the city. Ville-d’Avray is less than an hour away, but it seems like another world with its secluded streets and set-back houses.
The sisters’ relationship is ambiguous. Jane’s visits to Ville-d’Avray leave her discomfited; for all Claire Marie’s seeming provincial passivity, she knows exactly how to get under Jane’s skin.
As they settle into the torpor of the afternoon, Claire Marie describes a curious encounter from her past. Sundays are when she thinks about life – whether she expected something more from it, and whether she is still waiting for it to begin.
Sharply observed and wryly funny, A Sunday in Ville-d’Avray is a haunting novel about half-shared truths and desires that can never fully be expressed.
‘It is a story both simple and familiar but which, in this telling, is beguiling and immensely enjoyable because of the beautifully observed details.’ — Irish Times
‘An unsettling tale, suffused with menace.’ — TLS
‘An intimate story of melancholy and regret . . . Exquisite.’ — The Herald
‘Fans of Anita Brookner will enjoy this enigmatic, slightly sinister novel.’ — The Gloss magazine
‘A study of desire and contentment, time and expectation, this slim novel raises alluring questions about paths not taken.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘An enigmatic, absorbing little novel.’ — Saga Magazine
‘This atmospheric novel plunges us into the folds of our own emotions thanks to a richly evocative style. It has the troubling melancholy of Modiano’s novels and the charm of Rohmer’s films.’ – Gael
‘Evokes the scent of grass after it has rained, dead leaves burning in a back garden, the mild, melancholy scents of the Park Saint-Cloud at the start of autumn.’ – Sud Ouest