What pleasure this little novel holds! In a story where not much actually happens, we travel to surprising realms of heightened awareness and exquisite strangeness. As Marie spends her days on the job at London's National Gallery guarding a collection of the world's great paintings, the noise and rush of life becomes stilled to a vanishing point in the cracked layers of old varnish, and in that place of disconcerting quiet things begin to unravel and expand. Chloe Aridjis is a master of subtlety, her plot twists are accomplished like sleights-of-hand, and I absolutely loved the intelligence and quiet humor of this book.
—Recommended by Elaine, City Lights Publishing
Marie's job as a guard at the National Gallery in London offers her the life she always wanted, one of invisibility and quiet contemplation. But amid the hushed corridors of the Gallery surge currents of history and violence, paintings whose power belies their own fragility. There also lingers the legacy of her great-grandfather Ted, the museum guard who slipped and fell moments before reaching the suffragette Mary Richardson as she took a blade to one of the gallery's masterpieces on the eve of the First World War.
After nine years there, Marie begins to feel the tug of restlessness. A decisive change comes in the form of a winter trip to Paris, where, with the arrival of an uninvited guest and an unexpected encounter, her carefully contained world is torn open.
Asunder is a rich, resonant novel of beguiling depths and beautiful strangeness, exploring the delicate balance between creation and destruction, control and surrender.