The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier

The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier

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Buried deep in rural France, little remains of the isolated hamlet of the Three Lone Girls, save a few houses and a curiously assembled quartet: Patrice Bergogne, inheritor of his family’s farm; his wife, Marion; their daughter, Ida; and their neighbor, Christine, an artist. While Patrice plans a surprise for his wife’s fortieth birthday, inexplicable events start to disrupt the hamlet’s quiet existence: anonymous, menacing letters, an unfamiliar car rolling up the driveway. And as night falls, strangers stalk the houses, unleashing a nightmarish chain of events. 

Told in rhythmic, propulsive prose that weaves seamlessly from one consciousness to the next over the course of a day, Laurent Mauvignier’s The Birthday Party is a deft unraveling of the stories we hide from others and from ourselves, a gripping tale of the violent irruptions of the past into the present, written by a major contemporary French writer.


"A real-time study in crippling self-consciousness, the fragility of normalcy, and the reality of violence."―The New York Times

"The amount of detail and digression that Mauvignier explores in his slow, finely drawn (and smoothly translated) dissection of these lives is remarkable and goes far to sustaining interest... [in this] quasi-Proustian noir."Kirkus Reviews

"Mauvignier spins a mesmerizing psychological horror set in the seemingly humdrum French hamlet of Three Lone Girls... Readers will be riveted."Publishers Weekly

"Mauvignier’s ability to keep the shocks coming are among the qualities that make this riveting novel so nastily effective."The Guardian

"A chilling, masterful work. It dwells in that dim, haunted space between violence and mundanity, repression and revelation―that rare thing, a genre-bending novel that sacrifices neither its literary merits nor its pulpy thrills. It has bitter truths to tell."Gawker

“The intensity of the writing lends a feeling of fierce suspense... Mr. Mauvignier peels back those layers of reality in order to better grasp the people they finally form, a composite far more profound than the sum of its parts.”―The Wall Street Journal

Publisher: Transit Books
ISBN: 978-1945492655
Pages: 454