Herman’s wife and child are nowhere to be found, and the weather in the village, perfectly agreeable just days earlier, has taken a sudden turn for the worse. Tourist season is over. It’s time for the vacationing Parisians, Herman and his family included, to abandon their rural getaways and return to normal life. But where has Herman’s family gone? Concerned, he sets out into the oppressive rain and cold for news of their whereabouts. The community he encounters, however, has become alien, practically unrecognizable, and his urgent inquiry, placed in the care of local officials, quickly recedes into the background, shuffled into a deck of labyrinthine bureaucracy and local custom. As time passes, Herman, wittingly and not, becomes one with a society defined by communal surveillance, strange traditions, ghostly apparitions, and a hospitality that verges on mania.
A literary horror story about power and assimilation, That Time of Year marks NDiaye once again as a contemporary master of the psychological novel. Working in the spirit of Leonora Carrington, Victor LaValle, and Kōbō Abe, NDiaye’s novel is a nightmarish vision of otherness, privilege, and social amnesia, told with potent clarity and a heady dose of the weird.
“Utterly compelling in tone, plot, and style…this gorgeously eerie book will keep you holding your breath even past the end.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Marie NDiaye is so intelligent, so composed, so good, that any description of her work feels like an understatement.” —The New York Review of Books
“At a little more than 100 pages, That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye might initially seem spare. The intriguing complexity, however, contained in her superb novel underscores again why she is one of France’s most lauded contemporary writers…NDiaye’s taut, noirish horror, complicated by Kafka-esque obstacles, is seamlessly translated into English by professor Jordan Stump…With adroit precision, NDiaye transforms Herman’s situation, his choices (or lack thereof), his complicity, his feeble attempts at rebellion, into a biting, brilliant exposé on class and privilege, entitlement and hypocrisy, power and control.” —Terry Hong, Shelf Awareness
“Compelling, inevitable, and, much like the village, easy to get lost in. That Time of Year is a hypnotic novel about the spell cast by a village on its inhabitants, willing and otherwise.” —Foreword Reviews
That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye
- Translated from French by Jordan Stump
Two Lines Press 2020