My Heart Hemmed In
Two Lines Press’s third book by the French literary sensation
Marie NDiaye has won lavish praise for her unrivaled ability to reveal our innermost lives. My Heart Hemmed In is her grandest statement on the hidden selves we rarely glimpse, but whose presence is always with us.
Something’s very wrong with Nadia and her husband, Ange, middle-aged schoolteachers who slowly realize they’re despised by everyone in their community. One day a savage wound appears in Ange’s stomach—as Nadia fights to save her husband’s life, their hideous neighbor Noget (who everyone insists is a famous author) inexplicably imposes his care on them. While Noget fattens them with ever richer foods, Nadia embarks on a lurid visit to her ex-husband and estranged son—is she abandoning Ange or revisiting old grievances to save him?
Conjuring an atmosphere of paranoia, My Heart Hemmed In creates a nightmarish world where strange coincidences and uncertain relationships are all 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.
“If any contemporary European writer is on the verge of Ferrante-like recognition, it’s NDiaye.” — Flavorwire
“Claustrophobic, slow-burning, . . . and devastating.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“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
“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—our tendency to harbor suspicions, judgments and prejudices against people we do not want or even try, to understand. NDiaye takes us inside the disturbing mind of Nadia, her unforgettable protagonist, with writing that is arresting; the tension, immediately palpable, builds steadily. 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.” — New York Times
“NDiaye is a rare novelist.” — NPR
“[NDiaye] is an impressive stylist with a strong voice.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“Marie NDiaye’s Self Portrait in Green is phenomenal.” — Idra Novey, author of Ways of Disappearing
“NDiaye’s storytelling approaches something of the power and simplicity of folklore.” — Boston Globe
“NDiaye dissects her characters with impressive forensic detail, the subtlest speech inflection or gesture put under the microscope.” — The Independent (UK)