Khadija grew up in the small grocery shop her parents ran in Puteaux. When her mother died, her father Tareq went back to Morocco. At twenty, the young woman lives a simple, solitary life until the day she meets Virgile, who is far from sophisticated but is sociable and has his own charm.
Two years later, as the parents of a little boy, Virgile and Khadija move into an old farmhouse near Cahors, where they soon decide to marry. The young wife hopes for quiet happiness, but her life soon topples into a terrifying flipside.
Virgile is selfish and domineering, and submits her to regular humiliations and then to brutality. Isolated and defenceless, Khadija descends into the hell of domestic violence. She struggles constantly to protect her son, but very soon another nightmarish trap closes in on her.
Philippe Routier’s latest novel, Glass Wedding, is built around an inexorable mechanism. Hitcock-style, he combines psychological tension with dramatic suspense to evoke domestic violence subtly through his beautifully crafted central character, a fragile, deserving, courageous woman. The premise of the book may be dark, but the story is shot through with light: Khadija learns to overcome the obstacles set in her path. As with his previous books, Philippe Routier invests tenderness and acuity into his account of a vulnerable individual’s journey as she confronts a life of injustices, and he confirms his talent for describing the lives of ordinary people with powerful stories.
Philippe Routier was born in Germany in 1958. He has been living in Paris since 1974. He is the author of three previous novels, published by Stock: Le Passage à niveau (2006), Le Veilleur du Britannia (2008) and Pour une vie plus douce (2009). The latter was the inspiration for Cédric Kahn’s latest film Une vie meilleure with Guillaume Canet and Leïla Bekhti (released in France on January 4th 2012).