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A literary sensation in France, this poetic, thrilling debut charts the all-consuming passion between two women and the ruin it leaves in its wake.
A thirty-something teacher drifts through her life in Paris, raising a daughter on her own, lonely in spite of a new boyfriend. And then one night at a friend's tepid New Year's Eve party, Sarah enters the scene like a tornado—a talented young violinist, she is loud, vivacious, appealingly unkempt in a world where everyone seems preoccupied with being “just so.” Thus begins an intense relationship, tender and violent, that will upend both women's lives.
In gorgeous, evocative prose, Pauline Delabroy-Allard perfectly captures the pull of a desire so strong that it blinds us to everything else.
About the Author
Pauline Delabroy-Allard was born in 1988. They Say Sarah is her first novel.
Adriana Hunter studied French and Drama at the University of London. She has translated more than eighty books, including Véronique Olmi’s Bakhita and Hervé Le Tellier’s Eléctrico W, winner of the French-American Foundation’s 2013 Translation Prize in Fiction. She lives in Kent, England.
“This poetic and mystifying debut draws blood.” —New York Times Book Review
“Titillating with its frank descriptions of sex…and captivating with its investigation of the suffering involved in passion. It’s a brief, intense read…alluring and disturbing.” —The Guardian
“Mesmerizing…the narrative lunges forward in leaps and bounds like a wildfire consuming everything in its path…Delabroy-Allard has given us a work of depth and intensity…an erotic work that explores the dialectics of desire, possession, madness.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“An intense affair between two women is brought to life…in [Delabroy-Allard’s] enjoyable debut…a book that reads at times—this is high praise—like a new iteration of Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body (absorbing passion, illness, separation) and that moves impressively from the chaos and noise of love, to silence and solitude, like a spun coin settling.” —The Observer
“A whirlwind jaunt through two women’s fast-moving love affair…the action unspools quickly through a blitz of sex, travel, and emotional turmoil, cascading to a point of no return…thrilling.” —Publishers Weekly
“Already a huge hit in France, where it was nominated for the prestigious Prix Goncourt before it was even published, Delabroy-Allard’s sulphurous autobiographical novel centers on a young, newly-single mother in Paris who embarks on a tempestuous relationship with a professional violinist.” —OprahMag.com, LGBTQ Books That Are Changing the Literary Landscape in 2020 “A roman fleuve celebrating a lover with absinthe-green eyes…I am hooked.” —Michèle Roberts, Times Literary Supplement
“A gasping, sensory-driven symphony of love and despair.” —Booklist
“This slim, intense volume centers two women’s obsessive desire for one another…Their tender yet dark affair leaves them—and readers—breathless.” —Ms. Magazine
“A beautifully rendered and poetic portrait of obsessive love.” —Farzana Doctor, author of Seven
“There are shades of Duras, Nabokov, and Barthes in the intensely living heart of this magnificent novel.” —L'Express
“Masterful and musical.” —L'Humanité
“Dizzying...The intense They Say Sarah has two times, two rhythms, but a uniform narrative and stylistic mastery.” —Le Figaro