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Underground Time, By Delphine de Vigan

With all that money and sex, don't you pity these characters?

Delphine de Vigan's follow-up to the prizewinning No and Me alternates between two unhappy protagonists.

Mathilde is dissatisfied with her marketing job because her overbearing boss is not giving her enough to do: "I earn three thousand euros a month and I want to work!" she moans. (Poor her.) Thibault, a paramedic, is dissatisfied with his relationship with his sex-mad girlfriend, who "could only love him when horizontal". (Poor him.)

The author never fully explores her characters' inner lives, and as a result their mopeyness seems out of proportion with the facts as they appear. Still, the ending, which nods to Baudelaire, is refreshingly ambiguous.