Thursday, August 2, 2012

Three Strong Women- Marie NDiaye and John Fletcher

Three Strong Women

Marie NDiaye and John Fletcher

Knopf, Aug 7 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780307594693

Her estranged father demands Norah who practices law in France, to come home to Senegal. Reluctantly Norah returns to her homeland and her abusive dad to find her brother in prison on a murder charge, her father is looking old, but with another offspring.

Senegalese expatriate Fanta lives a happy life as a teacher in Dakar. However, her spouse Rudy demands she come to France with him where he insists his wealth is; instead she learns the hard way that Rudy is delusional.

Her late husband’s family kicks out impoverished Khady with nothing but bread though they mention a cousin Fanta residing in France. With no options in Senegal, the frightened widow heads to France hoping Fanta will help her, but makes a judgment error when a man offers her assistance.

This is a powerful but not an easy read that focuses on the plight of three Senegalese women trying to make it without a man in a sea of male sharks. Each of the title characters are fully developed so that the audience can empathizes with their increasing feelings of hopelessness while their inner fortitude strengthens in contrast. Readers will appreciate Marie NDiaye’s insightful look at immigrants from the viewpoints of Three Strong Women (and the men in their lives).

Harriet Klausner

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