The sound of footsteps crunching on the gravel, just barely perceptible, woke my mother in the middle of the night. Someone was walking through the courtyard, straight towards her room. But maybe it was coming from the basement. She’d been asleep with the windows open and the shutters closed. She got up, pushed open one of the shutters and waited, standing there, facing the darkness.
Madame Rebernak, a single mother, is horrified to learn that her husband’s cousin Freddy, who was sent to prison fifteen years prior for sexually abusing a young girl, has just been released. Not only that, but he’s living across the street from her, her son, and her beautiful teenage daughter, Clémence. Increasingly concerned that something terrible will befall Clémence, she is painted by the men around her as paranoid and delusional. But what at first seems delusional turns out to be simply inevitable.
Told in stark, unsparing language, A Friend of the Family is a gripping freefall through intuition and suspicion from one of France’s renowned noir writers.
Yves Ravey is a French novelist and playright. His novels include Bureau des illettrés, Alerte, and Le Drap, for which he won the Prix Marcel-Aymé in 2004.
Emma Ramadan is a literary translator of poetry and prose from France, the Middle East, and North Africa. She is based in Providence, RI.
Tom Roberge is co-owner of Riffraff bookstore and bar in Providence, Rhode Island. He learned French as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar and was formerly the Deputy Director of Albertine Books, a French language bookstore in New York.