I was instantly compelled by this hazy, languorous novel and its seemingly passive protagonist. Paul examines old themes of power dynamics and age differences in new and illuminating ways as it careens towards its final, explosive conclusion.
Frances is a graduate student spending a summer volunteering in rural France, in the hope that tending vegetables and harvesting honey will distract her from a scandal that drove her out of Paris, her research unfinished and her sense of self unmoored. At the eco-farm Noa Noa, she comes under the influence of its charismatic and domineering owner, Paul. As his hold over her tightens and her plans come unstuck, she finds herself entangled in a strange, uneven relationship. On a fraught road trip across the South of France, both are forced to reckon with uncomfortable truths.
A compelling and perturbing story of power, passivity and the cage of being ‘good’, Paul introduces a novelist of extraordinary perspicacity and lyricism.