Marie Darrieussecq: Le Mal de mer (UK: Breathing Underwater; US: Undercurrents)


The latest addition to my website is Marie Darrieussecq‘s Le Mal de mer (UK: Breathing Underwater; US: Undercurrents). This is something of a strange book, with virtually no direct conversation in it and not a great deal of plot. It tells of an unnamed mother who walks out on her husband, taking their unnamed daughter to a seaside resort near the Spanish border. Her motives are never explained. The pair, particularly the mother, seem to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside, swimming, eating ice-creams and meeting one or two people. But the husband sends a private detective to track them down, which he does. Much of the novel seems as though we are watching a distorted film or, more appropriately, watching it as though it were underwater, with little dialogue, strange dreams and people who are somewhat detached from the real world, the latter being a favourite theme of Darrieussecq. I cannot say that I really enjoyed it but it is still an interesting experiment.

Leave a Reply