Maître Susane is a 42-year-old lawyer in Bordeaux, France. She’s diligent and highly skilled, but her work is quite ordinary, so she’s confused when a man named Gilles Principaux asks her to defend his wife, Marlyne, who has been accused of murdering their children. But it’s more than the unusual request or the macabre nature of the crime that bothers her: Gilles seems strangely familiar to Maître Susane, but she can’t quite put her finger on why. The refrain “Who, to her, was Gilles Principaux?” echoes throughout Marie NDiaye’s thrilling novel as Maître Susane begins to fray—and her quest to understand the significance of this quasi-stranger threatens to upend her relationships with the people closest to her. Vengeance Is Mine, translated by Jordan Stump, interrogates how and what we remember, class and racial anxiety, and the meaning of justice. —Laura Zornosa
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