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Geography of an Adultery: A Novel (Paperback)

Geography of an Adultery: A Novel By Agnès Riva, John Cullen (Translated by) Cover Image
By Agnès Riva, John Cullen (Translated by)
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Dissecting a midlife affair, this perceptive, slyly comical debut explores how the spaces that limit our movements can be more exciting than the person we think we want.

Ema and Paul are lovers. Like so many others before them, they met through work. Both are married with children, and they arrange hurried meetings away from prying eyes. Paul’s car, a corner of Ema’s house, a hotel room…But their relationship soon suffers from this too-restricted sphere, and Ema decides to put them both in danger, at the risk of losing everything.
Cleverly attaching itself to the locations where passion plays out—whether domestic or professional, safe or transgressive—Geography of an Adultery casts a radical eye on anticipation and desire. With her deceptively cool, clinically precise style, Agnès Riva unravels the inner workings of a private life.

About the Author

Agnès Riva lives in the suburbs of Paris, where she draws inspiration from its urban landscape. She is the author of the short story “New Life,” which was published in the anniversary issue of the New French Review. Her debut novel, Geography of an Adultery, was a finalist for the Goncourt First Novel Prize and RTL-Lire Grand Prix.

John Cullen (1942–2021) is the translator of many books from Spanish, French, German, and Italian, including Siegfried Lenz’s The Turncoat, Juli Zeh’s Empty Hearts, Patrick Modiano’s Villa Triste, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation, and Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck.

Praise For…

“Intriguingly oblique…a beguiling portrayal of desire.” —Publishers Weekly

“The grounded emotional intelligence on display is well worth the reader’s investment.” —Booklist
“A fresh perspective [on affairs]…wholly original…Riva’s emphasis on place over character makes this debut notable.” —Necessary Fiction

“The focus of Agnès Riva’s compelling novel, Geography of an Adultery, is not on an affair but on the impact of place. Who we are is defined by where we are. Through the eyes of Ema, the reader feels the tension between passion and pulling back, between desire and the fear of being caught. Ultimately, the terrain explored is of a woman’s needs, a couple’s clandestine fantasies, and the shifting boundaries within relationships.” —Janet Skeslien Charles, author of The Paris Library

“Agnès Riva masterfully charts the dangerous contours of an illicit affair in this taut, thrilling novel. Geography of an Adultery examines intimacy and performance, solitude and freedom, and the porosity between self, space, and other.” —Sanaë Lemoine, author of The Margot Affair

“Reminiscent of Annie Ernaux, Agnès Riva’s cool, crisply written debut charts the course of an affair with prose so perfectly precise and unyielding, you know you are in the hands of an exceptionally talented draftswoman. Deft and unexpectedly witty, Geography of an Adultery operates like a blueprint, mapping the boundaries of a midlife affair—the ache of obsessive love, the headiness of clandestine encounters—exploring the shifting balance of power between two lovers, from car seat trysts to hotel bathrooms. Meticulously paced, this wry exploration of desire (and its limits) has moments of such brilliant bathos I laughed out loud.” —Ellie Eaton, author of The Divines

“With precision and economy, Agnès Riva stirs up an uneasy and affecting novel that lives in the tension between constraint and abandon. As it depicts the quotidian, often ridiculous territory of an affair, Geography of an Adultery ingeniously maps one woman’s inner world.” —Deborah Shapiro, author of The Summer Demands and The Sun in Your Eyes
“A powerful, gorgeous first novel.” —Diacritik
“[Riva’s prose] borrows from the nouveau roman as well as forensic pathology…remarkable.” —L’Obs
Product Details
ISBN: 9781590511107
ISBN-10: 1590511107
Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
Pages: 160
Language: English