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This is the absorbing and beautifully written tale of the marriage of two artists who struggle to find a place where they both belong, struggle to satisfy their creative urges, to accept compromise, to hold on to what initially drew each one to the other, to find ways to fill those “little pockets of emptiness.” It’s also the tale of how easy it is to compromise ones integrity, to make decisions that can upend ones life and expose the depths of a “selfish and imperfect heart.” Appanah exhibits a rare understanding of the capriciousness and complexity of human nature through her exploration of that elusive balance between longing always for more, or for something different, without letting hopes and dreams sabotage what one already has. As promise turns into disappointment, is it the best we can do at the end of each day to want all “thoughts, wishes, and regrets to close up for the night like water lilies” and to wait for tomorrow and repeat, ad infinitum? Sad and truthful, this book will haunt and enrich many of my tomorrows.— From Jeanne's Picks
The story revolves around the relationship of Anita and Adam, two artistic individuals who are drawn to each other because they are both perennial outsiders: Anita is a dark-skinned foreigner and Adam is from the countryside. The life of the artist, the question of cultural differences within a marriage, and the creation and the destruction of a family are examined.
— From Books for People who Miss Ann Arbor's Art Fair
“This haunting novel tells the story of a couple - two outsiders who find each other and fall in love - and the life they build as artists. After their daughter is born, a woman comes into their life to care for her, a woman whose life story is so poignant and heartbreaking that the couple cannot help but be inspired by it. But then boundaries are crossed, trust is betrayed, and lives are changed. This is a gorgeous, devastating book about belonging, art, and the choices we make.”
— Stef Schmidt, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH
“This tiny gem of a novel packs a powerful and moving punch. Author Nathacha Appanah has crafted a poignant meditation on class, entitlement, and immigration. Anita and Adam have become sedentary in their art and marriage. The arrival of undocumented immigrant Adele in their lives reignites their creativity but comes at a cataclysmic cost. With searing beauty and eloquent prose, Waiting for Tomorrow is the novel that book clubs are waiting to discuss.”
— Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN
A powerful examination of the artistic impulse, cultural identity, and family bonds
Anita is waiting for Adam to be released from prison. They met twenty years ago at a New Year’s Eve party in Paris, a city where they both felt out of place—he as a recent arrival from the provinces, and she as an immigrant from the island of Mauritius. They quickly fell in love, married, and moved to a village in southwestern France, to live on the shores of the Atlantic with their little girl, Laura.
In order to earn a living, Adam has left behind his love of painting to become an architect, and Anita has turned her desire to write into a job freelancing for a local newspaper. Over time, the monotony of daily life begins to erode the bonds of their marriage. The arrival of Adèle, an undocumented immigrant from Mauritius whom they hire to care for Laura, sparks artistic inspiration for both Adam and Anita, as well as a renewed energy in their relationship. But this harmony proves to be short-lived, brought down by their separate transgressions of Adèle’s privacy and a subsequently tragic turn of events.
With the careful observation, vivid description, and emotional resonance that are the hallmarks of her previous novel, The Last Brother, in Waiting for Tomorrow Nathacha Appanah investigates the life of the artist, the question of cultural differences within a marriage, and the creation and the destruction of a family.
“Lyrical and gripping. . . . There’s something magical about the ways in which Appanah makes the betrayals, the falsehoods, the appropriations and the disasters seem inevitable.”—BBC Culture
“[Appanah’s] beautiful prose shines through this translation by Geoffrey Strachan, allowing her to lay bare the danger of words not
spoken and the volatility of dreams denied.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“Fans of literary fiction and the exploration of the artist will appreciate Waiting for Tomorrow’s attention to language and the way the narrative moves between prologue, incident, and aftermath.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“Appanah meticulously brings the narrative back in time and then forward, deliberately parceling out pieces of information as the narrative awaits its own unsettling conclusion.”—Words Without Borders
“The novel ends in high drama—with lives cut short and dreams unfulfilled, with Appanah making it painfully apparent that life is little more than a collector’s inventory, a long list of choices and consequences that live on in our memories despite our best efforts to forget. Waiting for Tomorrow aches with longing.”—The Arkansas International
“[Waiting for Tomorrow’s] second act complications produce a genuine page-turning tension that almost feels out of place in a book filled with such lovely language and down-to-earth realities.”—Open Letters Review
“Rewarding. . . . the characters are complicated and well-drawn and the story immersive.”—Publishers Weekly
“Appanah’s tightly told tale offers an affecting story of displacement, regret, and the meaning of home.”—Booklist