“Little Thomas didn’t have time to finish his stewed apple. His mother hadn’t given him the slightest chance. The speed with which the poison circulated through his blood simply meant he didn’t suffer when he died.”
These are the opening lines of Ines Bayard’s debut novel, This Little Family. Intrigued? It certainly had me hooked.
Marie and Laurent are a young, career couple living in an apartment in Paris and are discussing starting a family. Her contentment and comfort with life is shattered when Marie experiences a violent encounter with her new manager at the office which threatens to derail her life.
Less than two years later, the family’s apartment is cordoned off by police tape as forensic officers examine a horrific scene in the family apartment. Three bodies around a dining table. Marie, Laurent and their little toddler, Thomas, in his high chair. All three of them have been poisoned by Marie.
Over this two year period we watch Marie slowly spiral out of control as she is driven by extremes of disgust and dread in the aftermath of a rape.
This is quite a harrowing read as Marie descends into madness. The story is tightly written which only exacerbates Marie’s mental health. Just when you think that the situation can’t get any worse, it does.
This is a dark, compelling read. For all her wrong doings I still bled for Marie. And of course there’s a twist!
About The Author
Inès Bayard was born in Toulouse, France, in 1991. She lived and studied in Paris for several years before relocating in 2017 to Berlin, where she is currently based.
Nominations: Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, Goncourt List, Poland’s Choice, Goncourt List, Romania’s Choice, Goncourt List, Belgium’s Choice, Goncourt List, Italy’s Choice, Goncourt List, Switzerland’s Choice