Underground Time, By Delphine de Vigan


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The Independent Culture

Each morning Mathilde takes the Metro to her job in the marketing department of a large French corporation. Ever since a disagreement with her narcissistic boss, life in the office has taken a turn for the worse.

On the other side of Paris, paramedic Thibault is getting over an affair with a woman with whom he connects in bed, but who barely looks at him when dressed.

This classy novelette, judiciously translated by George Miller, follows Mathilde and Thibault as they negotiate the start of an unpromising summer. But despite a close encounter at the Gare de Lyon, and the reader's fervent wishes, the commuters fail to send out the right signals.

As in her best-known novel, No and Me, De Vigan 's subject is the loneliness of modern metropolitan life.