The Night Traveler
Olga has been fighting liver cancer for six years, and is now in palliative care at the hospital. She has decided not to open her eyes or to speak any longer, leaving her words to four daughters: Katia, the eldest, is an established author, Véra is an accountant, Sonia a beautician, and Lisa, the youngest, a successful lawyer living in Australia. As they care for her, they each are confronted with the difficult past they share: a loving but tyrannical mother who raised them single handedly while her husband sailed year in and year out with the Navy. In this women’s world, the only paternal figure was Misha, Olga’s adored father. Now that the four sisters have become mother to their mother, they discover each other, reevaluating their place in the family. They also gradually reveal their own hidden stories: Vera’s homosexuality, Sonia’s addiction to alcohol, Lisa’s depression. The author describes with great emotion and accuracy the issue of illness and death, the brutality of the hospital environment but also family secrets, women who are aging, and maternity. Chandernagor paints a memorable portrait of mother-daughter and sister to sister relationships in the face of death and its trappings.
Francoise Chandernagor : Françoise Chandernagor has published ten novels including L'ALLEE DU ROI which was translated in English by Penguin in 1985. She is a permanent juror of the prestigious Goncourt Academy.