A Nail, A Rose (Pushkin Collection) (Paperback)

By Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Faith Evans (Translated by)

Pushkin Collection, 9781782275138, 224pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Enchanting stories of women's inner lives by the rediscovered Belgian author Madeleine Bourdouxhe

The seven stories in A Nail, A Rose confirm Madeleine Bourdouxhe's status as an under-appreciated master of the form. Like her critically lauded novels Marie and La Femme de Giles, these stories tunnel into the conflicted hearts of their female characters in fluid, beautiful prose.

These are stories of longing and dissatisfaction, of mundane lives ruptured by strange currents of feeling. A woman, wandering alone and heartbroken, is first attacked and then romantically pursued by a stranger, who returns to her house to offer her gifts. A maid wears her mistress's expensive coat to meet her lover, but finds herself more preoccupied with fantasies of intimacy with her mistress. With piercing insight and candour, Bourdouxhe offers seven unforgettable portraits of the expansive inner lives of ordinary women.

About the Author

Madeleine Bourdouxhe was born in Belgium in 1906. She moved to Paris with her parents during the First World War before returning to Brussels to study philosophy. Her first novel, La Femme de Gilles, was published in 1937, and a second novel, À la Recherche de Marie, followed in 1943. Interest in her work revived in the 1980s, with both novels being reprinted and translated into many languages, and her collection of stories A Nail, A Rose first appeared in English in 1989. Bourdouxhe died in Brussels in 1996.

Praise For A Nail, A Rose (Pushkin Collection)

"Her lonely, fantasising women call up Rhys and Mansfield." – Hermione Lee, Observer

"The stories here reveal a poetic imagination which combines the startling imagery of the surrealists with intensely female preoccupations . . . a singular, resonant voice." – Literary Review

"These are the stories of a very gifted, very honest writer, who moves quite naturally between fidelity to fact and fidelity to the furnace beneath it, of memory and fantasy and bereavement."  TLS

 "Madeleine Bourdouxe is one of the more remarkable literary discoveries of the last few years." - Jonathan Coe

"An unforgettable, thrilling achievement... What [Marie] does, no less, is stake a claim to Bourdouxhe's rightful position alongside Proust and Virginia Woolf as an explorer of interior life." - Sunday Times

"A stunning collection... [Bourdouxhe] has the observational expertise and tightness in structure of Katherine Mansfield, a touch of Angela Carter’s wildness, and the realism in her characterisation and dialogue reminded me of Daphne Du Maurier’s later work... a moving, powerful and transformative reading experience." — The Heroine Collective

"Exquisite, elegant, and nonsentimental... Bourdouxhe conveys the sharp, almost physical intensity of thought." - Irish Times on Marie

"the laureate of yearning… [her] greatness lies in her ability to conjure the most exquisite and heart-rending moments from the most quotidian circumstances. Everyone should read her." — Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of His Bloody Project
"Powerful stories… what a treat for modern readers to have her work revived." — A Life in Books blog

"The surrealist soul of these stories is played with in both tragedy and comedy, and is frightfully good at bringing colour and electricity to the flat and the ordinary." — Books and Bao blog

"There are not many writers you can think of who have understood the patriarchal situation with such clarity and disregarded it all the same with the exact proportionate amount of dignity, nihilistic abandon and fatalism." — Flowerville blog

"Bourdouxhe’s women have almost untold depths of feeling and trauma…But they are never bowed: they love, they mourn, they desire, they dream, they take risks. Above all, they never lose their sense of self." — Translating Women blog

 "I loved her writing, with its bare starkness." — Bookword blog

"remarkable collection. Vivid… exquisite… stylish." — Book Jotter blog

"A compact, yet challenging, piece of work… explores a variety of themes… continues to invoke debate and deliberation." — Swirl and Thread blog