What do we really know about the people we see in the underground or the bus or the supermarket? Everybody has a story, only we never know those stories.
In this book Delphine de Vigan tells the story of two of those people. Two stories out of the millions lives in a city.
Mathilde goes to work as she does every day, but the last months she has done so without pleasure. A couple of months ago she disagreed with her boss and from that moment he took every opportunity to make her live hell. He completely isolated her within the company.
On this day in May Mathilde takes the underground to work as she always does, hoping something will change today because she knows she cannot hold on for much longer.
Thibault works as an emergency doctor and drives through Paris from one case to another.
This is not a day like the other days, because today he finally ended his relationship with Lila, the woman he loved, only she did not really love him. And although he realizes this was the right decision, it still leaves a hole in his life, a life he finds empty when he looks at it.
And every time he gets a text his heart jumps because he thinks it might be from Lila, who will finally tell him that she loves him as well. And at the same time he knows this text will never come.
I also read Nothing holds back the night by Delphine de Vigan, a book about her depressed mother and that was also very beautiful.
Underground time is even better, I thought. It is so well written and it gets under your skin. Delphine de Vigan knows how to make you almost uncomfortable while you read, especially in the parts about Mathilde. We all know people like her boss exist, people who can manipulate every situation to have their own way and who can make sane people think they lost their mind. And while we read it, we realize how difficult it is to defeat somebody like that.
You travel with Mathilde and Thibault and see how they finally meet at the end of the day, although it is in passing. You do not know how their stories will end, but there seems to be some light for both of them at the end of the tunnel.
Underground time is a very beautiful novel, that you cannot put down.
Original French title: Les heures souterraines
Published in 2009