Barbara is one day summoned to take care of her senile mother, who has never loved her. But she will unexpectedly discover a family secret carefully kept, which will sweep away all her beliefs.

Gaëlle Pingault

FORMAT: 140 x 205
PAGES: 336
WORDS: 85 000 approx.
PUBLISHER: Eyrolles éditions

The Work

Barbara, in her fifties, is summoned to take care of her senile mother. She refuses, having little affection for this mother who has never loved her; she wants to be able to live her life as an extravagant and free academic. However, the news affects her more than she is willing to admit, changing her relationship to her lovers, her students, and even to reading, her greatest pleasure. At the same time, Charles, an eccentric and disillusioned doctor at the nursing home where Barbara’s mother is staying, refuses to give up on her apparent coldness: he persists in sending her offbeat messages, until he establishes a connection.
Barbara will discover the secret of this distant mother, and Charles will end up admitting to himself the suffering that hides behind his eccentricity. Like Lise, a human and devoted caregiver, they will learn that caring for oneself involves caring for others, and vice versa.
Will Barbara forgive her mother for making her the strong and lonely woman she is today? Will Charles find the strength to face his small cowardice? Will Lise, who devotes herself to others, dare to face the emptiness of her own life?

The Author(s)

Gaëlle Pingault is a speech therapist. She is the author of novels and poetry collections published by Quadrature Publishing.

Key Sales Points

– A book winner of the 2020 Merlieux des bibliothèques award.
– Three portraits of human beings who have taken refuge in a kind of marginality, in order to face the hazards of their respective stories: Barbara in a fierce solitude from which the possibility of love is excluded. Charles in a life by default that his cowardice invites him to find comfortable. Lise in a devotion for others that make her forget about herself.
– The story, which interweaves Charles, Lise and Barbara’s three voices, is punctuated by short glimpses of Barbara’s past, as a baby, a little girl and then as a teenager with a mother suffering from bipolar disorder. These passages make for a harsh and moving story.