The Novels of Marie NDiaye

Madeleine Schwarz at the NYRB:

Marie NDiaye, New York City, 2009

Marie NDiaye is so intelligent, so composed, so good, that any description of her work feels like an understatement. “Stop reading this review, just read her books!” you want to say. For several weeks now I’ve been carrying around NDiaye’s novels, telling friends to pick up her work. “She’s the smartest writer working today!” I say. Or else: “She’s going to win the Nobel Prize!”

Reading her books, you see a voracious, condensed history of much of twentieth-century literature. Here is an “I” reminiscent of what is often called autofiction, cool and probing; here is an interest in every tick of a woman’s mind that recalls the miniatures of French writers like Marguerite Duras. Here, where the women turn into dogs, where the birds may have a human spirit, is what seems like magical realism, though the line between what is happening and what is imagined is never quite clear.

more here.