A wry, savvy novel of untidy modern relationships, A Family Affair confirms award-winning author Nadine Bismuth’s place as a remarkable chronicler of contemporary middle-class mores in the manner of Jonathan Franzen, John Irving, and Lorrie Moore.
Award-winning novelist and screenwriter for film and television Nadine Bismuth has returned with an unsparing portrait of twenty-first century life. In A Family Affair, love is the first casualty and deceit — towards others, towards oneself — the norm.
Kitchen designer Magalie is being cheated upon and so cheats in turn, in the office and with a divorced police officer who has hired her. Her partner, Mathieu, has no idea how to be, and the police officer Guillaume no idea what he wants. So begins a story of messy relationships wrested against the odds from the detritus of failed marriages, the demands of professional lives, and the pull of the internet and its false messages of perfection. With an assiduous eye that is both clinical and sympathetic, Bismuth’s elegant and highly readable novel captures the alienating nature of contemporary life and sheds light on this, our strange new world full of unrequited yearning in a sea of seeming plenty.