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Scaffolding - Lauren Elkin

Scaffolding

By: Lauren Elkin

Hardcover | 18 June 2024

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The debut novel from the brilliant essayist, reviewer, cultural critic and author of Flaneuse

The story of two couples who live in the same apartment in north-east Paris almost fifty years apart.

In 2019, Anna, a psychoanalyst, is processing a recent miscarriage. Her husband, David, takes a job in London so she spends days obsessing over renovating the kitchen while befriending a younger woman called Clementine who has moved into the building and is part of a radical feminist collective called les colleuses.

Meanwhile, in 1972, Florence and Henry are redoing their kitchen. Florence is finishing her degree in psychology while hoping to get pregnant. But Henry isn't sure he's ready for fatherhood...

Both sets of couples face the challenges of marriage, fidelity, and pregnancy, against a backdrop of political disappointment and intellectual controversy. The characters and their ghosts bump into and weave around each other, not knowing that they once all inhabited the same space.

A novel in the key of ric Rohmer, Scaffolding is about the bonds we create with people, and the difficulty of ever fully severing them; about the ways that people we've known live on in us; and about the way that the homes we make hold communal memories of the people who've lived in them and the stories that have been told there.

About the Author

Lauren Elkin is the author of several books, including Fl neuse- Women Walk the City, a Radio 4 Book of the Week, a New York Times Notable Book of 2017, and a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel award for the art of the essay. Her essays on art, literature, and culture have appeared in the London Review of Books, the New York Times, Granta, Harper's, Le Monde, Les Inrockuptibles, and Frieze, among others. She is also an award-winning translator, most recently of Simone de Beauvoir's previously unpublished novel The Inseparables. After twenty years in Paris, she now lives in London.
Industry Reviews
'Scaffolding is ingenious and febrile, delving into the intimacy and implacability of those awakening connections that layer, echoing, throughout our lives - doing so in ways that feel all at once vital, playful, profoundly moving. It's a beautifully fluid meditation on what is at stake, and who we become, when we desire.' * Sophie Mackintosh *

'I time travelled with Lauren Elkin and found myself in a Parisian apartment soaking in human stories and palpitating with new discoveries as I turned each page. What a rich, tantalising narrative defying conventions, which could only ever have been written by an author who has experienced a multiplicity of lives and the true meaning of home.' * Xiaolu Guo *

'Scaffolding is a quietly incendiary disquisition on desire and containment, on the bonds that make and unmake us. It seized me wholly ... a powerful testament to the idea that what we want might obliterate us, and fearlessly reckons with the equally high stakes of pretending otherwise.' * Daisy Lafarge *

'Be warned: this novel will absorb you, disassemble you, and leave you strangely unwilling to put yourself back together again. Read it, reread it, then give it to your friends and teachers, your relatives and your lovers.' * Devorah Baum *

'Lauren Elkin's Scaffolding is a novel that's remarkable for its combination of intellectual toughness and sensual precision. This investigation into multiple forms of exposure - inhabited by an array of chords and repeats and hauntings - feels urgently contemporary.' * Adam Thirlwell *

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