A Sunday in Ville-d’Avray
by Dominique Barbéris (tr. John Cullen)
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.