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“To write of her that which has never been written of any other woman.” And with these words from Dante, Jean-Philippe Toussaint sets out once more to deepen and broaden his depiction of one of contemporary fiction’s most fully realized female characters: haute couturière Marie Madeleine Marguerite de Montalte. Having traced the ups, downs, ins, and outs of Marie’s relationship with the unnamed narrator through three previous novels, Toussaint brings his customary nuanced rumination and nimble wit to this concluding volume, which takes us back to the Tokyo of Making Love and the Elba of The Truth About Marie, through jealousy and comedy, irony and tenderness, and the meticulous accretion of details that engross and distract us even as life’s larger changes shift the assumptions by which we live.

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