The first Tuesday of every month, Clarisse Rivière leaves her husband and young daughter to take the train to Bordeaux and visit her mother, Ladivine. Clarisse has concealed nearly every aspect of her adult life from this woman whom she dreads and despises but also pities, and who knows her as Malinka.
But after 25 years, the idyllic life she has built from scratch cannot survive the walls she's put up to protect it. Her anguish leaves her cold and guarded, her loved ones forever trapped outside, looking in, and then everything comes crashing down. When she is brutally murdered, her daughter will try to work out what happened, and through a mystical logic NDiaye makes utterly persuasive, Clarisse's spirit will be perceived to have lodged itself in a brown dog that watches over her daughter and mother.
Translated from the French by Jordan Stump.