A brilliant and original novel about love, crossing the cultural divide, and the meaning of home
Louise, an American innocent, takes up a scholarship in the south of France in winter 1961 and promptly falls for Wally, a gregarious Algerian worker in flight from brutal colonial war. He teaches her about life and love in a chilly furnished room, against a background of French pop music that makes it all seem easy. But families and history reassert their claim and the inevitable separation leaves lasting wounds. Forty years later, finally "old enough to understand how young I was back then," Louise enlists the help of another Algerian exile in an attempt to make amends. This is a lucid, witty novel about the personal and the political, about love and home, and about the cruel and merciful law of unintended consequences.