A beautiful and often poetic tale that is unflinching about social and personal violence. Set in Marseilles, this is the story of Vanda, a beautiful woman in her thirties, arms covered in tats, skin so dark that some take her for a North African. Devoted to her six-year-old son Noé, they live in a derelict shed by the beach.
She had wanted to be an artist; she is now a cleaner in a psychiatric hospital. But Vanda is happy living alone, like a mama bear with her cub. “The two of them against the world”, as she says. Everything changes when Simon, the father of her son, surfaces in Marseilles. He had left Vanda seven years earlier, not knowing that she was pregnant. When Simon demands custody of his son, Vanda’s suppressed rage threatens to explode. The tension becomes unbearable, both parents fully capable of extreme violence.
'A taut psychological thriller. This heart-wrenching slice of social--realism will resonate with many.'Publishers Weekly
'Brunet's depiction of a woman whom society has failed is visceral and heartbreaking. She represents many others in similar situations which is why it's such an important and eye-opening read.' CrimeFictionLover
'A remarkable example of social-realism in the noir genre. An acerbic polemic about the violence of our society aimed at its most vulnerable.' Livres Hebdo
'Beautifully etched portrait of a woman who knows only extreme love. Wild, ferocious, she smells her son without biting him, but would would suffocate him in her arms rather than see him leave her.' Figaro
'A contemporary drama, violence always simmering below the surface. An homage to single-mothers, fearless in the protection of their children.' L’Express
'Bruised but undaunted, Vanda is a wounded lioness. So hard to be vulnerable in these savage times.' Paris Match
Reviews of Summer of Reckoning:
‘There’s an appalling, slow-motion car crash inevitability to this concise and beautifully written novel.’ Guardian
‘Marion Brunet reminds us that noir is a French word; that “life’s not like a fairytale for silly girls. Life hurts.” This is the first of her award-winning books to be translated into English. More, please, au plus vite!’ The Times‘A slow-burn thriller, a social-realist portrayal of embittered life among hard-scrabble minimal-income locals and semi-settled immigrants, all living within walking distance of the luxurious villas occupied part-time by the holidaying wealthy.’ CrimeTime