Prix du Premier Roman 2020
A story of liberation and a heartrending portrayal of a woman’s sense of self, Ketty Rouf’s extraordinary debut shatters tired prejudices about sex, women, and society.
Josephine teaches philosophy in a high school in Drancy, a suburb of Paris. Her life is a balancing act between Xanax, Propranolol and Tupperware lunches in the staff room. The directives of the National Education Board are increasingly absurd and intolerable and she follows them with playfulness at times and derision at others.
When, one evening, Josephine walks into a strip club on the Champs-Elysée, her life is completely overturned. There she learns a secret nocturnal code of conduct; she discovers camaraderie and the joys of female company; and she thrills at the sensation of men’s desire directed toward her. Josephine, a teacher by day, begins to lead a secret existence by night that ultimately allows her to regain control of her life. This delicate balance is shattered one evening by an unexpected visitor to the club where she dances.