A pellucid fourth novel from a newly emergent French writer whose previous three (including H"tel Splendid) were published together in English last year. Like those predecessors, Redonnet's chilling râ€šcit appears to offer provocative pointillist segments of an ongoing fictive autobiography. It presents the first-person thought-meanderings of Mia, a 30ish writer whose vacillating urges to follow up the success of her autobiographical first novel are interrupted by the slow decline of her beloved ""Ma,"" now confined to a nursing home, and her own passive drifting in and out of inchoate relationships with admiring and compliant men. In reechoing sequences of errands and encounters, presented with Beckett-like spareness and clarity, we observe Mia's dreamy sublimation in the lives of family, colleagues, and lovers whose vocations (many are, or wish to be, writers) and fates (they seem surrounded, if not also linked, by the looming presence of immanent death) gradually reveal themselves as aspects of her own experiences and her fears of experiences to come. Her own disgruntled immersion in financial and legal responsibilities, for example, mirrors her mother's disappointed ""apprentice[ship] to a seamstress at the age of twelve when she had wanted to be a dancer""; her own writer's block is mocked by the fate of her dying friend, a self-indulgent American traveler who will never complete the ""transcendent poem"" he has dreamed of writing. Thus Redonnet builds a compelling picture of a writer who lives in, and as, the people who possess her imagination. Redonnet's bare-boned prose rises frequently to the level of haunting lyricism (""I spent the whole night by Ma's bed watching her, as she had watched me when I was a little girl afraid of dying in my sleep""). This short, unpretentious book offers a full and fascinating revelation of a complex sensibility, and further confirms the arrival of a major artist still in the making.