Anne-Marie Garat’s novels are extremely compelling, yet this does not mean that they make for light reading. The suspenseful stories spun by this penetrating author (who was born in Bordeaux in 1946) probe deeply into the soul’s most secret scars, often revealing in the process the existential unease, sexual despair, or familial rootlessness upon which human lives can be founded. This is no new theme, of course, especially in the modern French novel, but Garat’s fiction stands out because of her stunningly minute analyses of the body’s role in this overall existential malaise. Most extraordinarily for a woman writer, she favors portraying the male body and psyche; female characters are neither absent nor slight, yet they tend to be secondary. Most of Garat’s narrators, or main characters, are indeed troubled, shiftless, inadequately loved (or incompetently loving), slightly eccentric, self-centered men; and it is their difficulté à vivre that she illustrates—and implicitly dissects—through their searching, wounded voices.