Patrick Lapeyre translated from the French by Adriana Hunter

Life is Short and Desire Endless

Publication Date: Jun 19, 2012

336 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $16.95
ISBN: 9781590514849


List Price US $13.99
ISBN: 9781590514856

Winner of the 2010 Prix Femina, this delicious novel revolves around a classic love triangle: two men and one woman. She is English, they are French and American. The Frenchman is married, the American is not. None of this makes any difference. The woman—elusive, unreliable, a classic femme fatale—flits back and forth between her two lovers, driving them both mad.

Lapeyre’s subtle, graceful, yet compulsively readable narrative shows us the folly of men who fall helplessly in love with women they don’t understand. Its theme is universal and its humor is sly. It is the perfect introduction in English to this brilliant writer’s work.

Excerpt from Life is Short and Desire Endless

Given that the time difference between London and Paris is one hour, it is at about four thirty on that same May day that Murphy Blomdale opens the door to his apartment, puts down his luggage and, after a couple of minutes, has the chilling feeling that Nora is no longer there.
Everything around him seems strangely calm and lifeless, the windows out onto the courtyard have been left open and, in the space of three days, silence has crept into the apartment, infiltrating every nook and cranny, yet giving a different resonance from one room to the next. The place has never felt so vast and abandoned to him.
Time itself seems to be standing still, exactly as if this moment of his life, this slice of afternoon, has seized up altogether and nothing will ever come after it.
Shaking off this morbid spell, Murphy carries on with his exploration, going from the living room to his study, then his study to their bedroom: the wardrobe is empty, the drawers tipped out as if after a burglary and, instead of frames with their photos in them, all that is left on the pedestal table is a little layer of dust and a set of keys.
Enough said.
Anyone else in his position would already have accepted the evidence.
But not him. He can’t seem to believe it. In fact, he peers at himself in the mirror to see whether he looks as if he believes it, but no, he has the eyes of someone who doesn’t.
There must be some explanation for this sort of denial. Murphy Blomdale is big on voluntarism, he is one hundred percent American, both austere and hyperactive, held up as an example by his bosses; this is a man who is confronted daily by the anarchic tides of the financial world, by the unpredictability of markets, the speed of exchanges, and the volatility of capitals. In short, nothing that might prepare him for being the male lead in a romantic drama one day.

“In lucid, elegant prose Patrick Lapeyre explores the obsessive love of two men for the same woman. Wonderfully cinematic, readers will be quickly seduced by this engrossing story told with a sensibility that could only be French. A truly memorable novel!” —Katharine Davis, author of Capturing Paris and East Hope

“An appealing oddness of language elevates Lapeyre’s English-language debut above the standard love triangle story.” —Publishers Weekly

“Lapeyre writes with great wit and sly craft on the miseries of unfulfilled relationships.” —Kirkus Reviews

“There are no easy answers in Lapeyre’s discomfiting novel….but the journey is absorbing.” —New York Times Book Review