The Delicate Art of Remaining Seated on a Seesaw

The Delicate Art of Remaining Seated on a Seesaw



Available material: Sample in English.


The Delicate Art of Remaining Seated on a Seesaw

Original title: L’art difficile de rester assise sur une balançoire
Author: Emmanuelle Urien

Marriage is like a seesaw: if one side steps away, the other gets shot straight into the air… What would you do if your ideal life suddenly turned upside-down?

After her husband Yann leaves her for her best friend, Pauline finds herself suffering from a disease common to such traumatic circumstances: she feels both alive and dead, though she admits there is no point in jumping out of a first-floor window and no sense in hating a rival who, ironically, has just died.

An unreliable narrator of her own drama, Pauline is an extravagant mourner, dragging the reader into the comical excesses caused by her sad, trivial situation. As her three children would rather have her alive, she struggles to keep hate and grief at bay. With the support of her psychiatrist mother, Pauline comes up with a plan: to remove the source of her trouble, she will declare her ex-husband dead. Things go awry, however, when Yann actually disappears.

Original language

FRENCH | Éditions Denoël

Translation rights

CATALAN | Angle Editorial
ITALIAN | Newton & Compton
SPANISH | Grijalbo / Penguin Random House
TURKISH | Dogan Kitap

  • Long-listed for the Prix Maison de la Presse 2013

«Urien offers us a novel full of hope and optimism. (…) This fun and effective read, impregnated by a redemptive self-assertiveness, constitutes a beautiful blow of fresh air in this never-ending winter.» Ça Depend des Jours

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