My Heart Hemmed In

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UPC: 9781931883627
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Author: Marie NDiaye
Translator: Jordan Stump
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lines Press (July 11, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931883629
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931883627
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches

Marie NDiaye has long been celebrated for her unrivaled ability to make us see just how little we understand about ourselves. My Heart Hemmed In is her most powerful statement on the hidden selves that we rarely glimpse―and are often shocked by.

There is something very wrong with Nadia and her husband Ange, middle-aged provincial schoolteachers who slowly realize that they are despised by everyone around them. One day a savage wound appears in Ange's stomach, and as Nadia fights to save her husband's life their hideous neighbor Noget―a man everyone insists is a famous author―inexplicably imposes his care upon them. While Noget fattens them with ever richer foods, Nadia embarks on a nightmarish visit to her ex-husband and estranged son―is she abandoning Ange or revisiting old grievances in an attempt to save him?

Conjuring an atmosphere of paranoia and menace, My Heart Hemmed In creates a bizarre, foggy world where strange coincidences, harsh cruelty, and constantly shifting relationships all seem part of some shadowy truth. Surreal, allegorical, and psychologically acute, My Heart Hemmed In shows a masterful author giving her readers her most complex and compelling world yet.



A Millions Most Anticipated Book 

"If any contemporary European writer is on the verge of Ferrante-like recognition, it's NDiaye." ― Flavorwire

"My Heart Hemmed In has the psychological depth of a case study and the sensory texture of a hallucination." ― Harper's 

"Claustrophobic, slow-burning, . . . and devastating." ― Publishers Weekly 

"My Heart Hemmed In thoroughly consumes the reader with its lovely, spooky language . . . Like Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream, it generates both a sense of mounting unease and a pleasurable desire to learn just what, exactly, has gone so wrong." ― Caite Dolan-Leach, author of Dead Letters 

"The latest translation of Marie NDiaye into English is unquestionably one of the great novels of 2017. Eerily prescient in its examination of cruelty, xenophobia, and paranoia, My Heart Hemmed In is both a comfort and a warning in an increasingly destabilized world." ― Patrick Nathan, author of Some Hell 

"NDiaye crafts a world full of unease and tension with all the turns and uncertainty of a labyrinth." ― World Literature Today 

"A middle-aged couple who teach in a provincial French town are suddenly ostracized by the entire community. Their crime? They don't know and can't seem to find out. This is a devastating, visceral, and harsh book dripping with paranoia." ― Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore 

"My Heart Hemmed In is extraordinary: an original and suspenseful novel that exposes all that is monstrous and ugly in the way that we regard those around us. . . . The temptation to turn the pages quickly is great but the prose is so fine that you will want to savor it. With its unsettling atmosphere reminiscent of Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child, NDiaye's brilliant novel obtains pride of place with the very best literary horror. My Heart Hemmed In is a morality tale for our times." ― Lori Feathers, Interabang Books and the National Book Critics Circle Board Member 

"NDiaye is writing a literature both innovative and incredible." ― The New Republic 

"[NDiaye's] inspiration lies not in the real world but in nightmares or, more specifically, in the Freudian unconscious." ― The New York Times 

"NDiaye's novel is haunting in its strangeness and is pointed in its warnings. . . . Eerie, involving, and surreal." ― Foreword Reviews 

"NDiaye is a rare novelist." ― NPR


About the Author

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. One of ten finalists for the 2013 International Booker Prize, alongside Lydia Davis and Marilynne Robinson, she is the author of over a dozen plays and works of prose. She lives in Germany. Jordan Stump is one of the leading translators of innovative French literature. The recipient of numerous honors and prizes, he has translated books by Nobel laureate Claude Simon, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, and Eric Chevillard, as well as Jules Verne's French-language novel The Mysterious Island. His translation of NDiaye's All My Friends was shortlisted for the French-American Foundation Translation Prize. He lives in Lincoln, NB.