A sly, wry novel about how hard it is to do good.
Sonia is finally settling down. With her husband, Julien, she buys a flat in an apartment block in an up-and-coming quarter of the city. And she is pregnant with their first child. Family life begins and it feels good.
Their new home has its problems, as all do. With Julien away on business much of the time and now a second child on the way, Sonia finds herself drawn into the darker corners of life in her block. A disoriented widower, seemingly incapable of going on alone, latches on to her, all under the watchful gaze of the building's eyes and ears - a dishevelled, even disgusting pair who in turn lean on the services of an obliging factotum.
They fascinate and repulse Sonia all at once but, in her muddled, well-meaning way, she finds herself sucked speedily into the maelstrom of their sordid lethargy and ordinary cruelty. It's as much as she can do to try to bring relief where she can, but it comes at quite a price. And Sonia has her reader ask why it is so very hard to tell the truth and so very hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.