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  • Published: 18 June 2024
  • ISBN: 9781784742942
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $36.99

Scaffolding




The debut novel from the brilliant essayist, reviewer, cultural critic and author of Flaneuse

'The Susan Sontag of her generation' Deborah Levy

The story of two couples who live in the same apartment in north-east Paris almost fifty years apart.

In 2019, Anna, a psychoanalyst, is processing a recent miscarriage. Her husband, David, takes a job in London so she spends days obsessing over renovating the kitchen while befriending a younger woman called Clémentine who has moved into the building and is part of a radical feminist collective called les colleuses.

Meanwhile, in 1972, Florence and Henry are redoing their kitchen. Florence is finishing her degree in psychology while hoping to get pregnant. But Henry isn’t sure he’s ready for fatherhood…

Both sets of couples face the challenges of marriage, fidelity, and pregnancy. The characters and their ghosts bump into and weave around each other, not knowing that they once all inhabited the same space.

A novel in the key of Éric Rohmer, Scaffolding is about the bonds we create with people, and the difficulty of ever fully severing them; about the ways that people we’ve known live on in us; and about the way that the homes we make hold communal memories of the people who’ve lived in them and the stories that have been told there.

'Atmospheric and evocative, the prose elegant and poised' Observer

  • Published: 18 June 2024
  • ISBN: 9781784742942
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $36.99

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Praise for Scaffolding

'Scaffolding is ingenious and febrile, delving into the intimacy and implacability of those awakening connections that layer, echoing, throughout our lives - doing so in ways that feel all at once vital, playful, profoundly moving. It’s a beautifully fluid meditation on what is at stake, and who we become, when we desire.'

Sophie Mackintosh

'I time travelled with Lauren Elkin and found myself in a Parisian apartment soaking in human stories and palpitating with new discoveries as I turned each page. What a rich, tantalising narrative defying conventions, which could only ever have been written by an author who has experienced a multiplicity of lives and the true meaning of home.'

Xiaolu Guo

'Scaffolding is a quietly incendiary disquisition on desire and containment, on the bonds that make and unmake us. It seized me wholly ... a powerful testament to the idea that what we want might obliterate us, and fearlessly reckons with the equally high stakes of pretending otherwise.'

Daisy Lafarge

'Be warned: this novel will absorb you, disassemble you, and leave you strangely unwilling to put yourself back together again. Read it, reread it, then give it to your friends and teachers, your relatives and your lovers.'

Devorah Baum

'Lauren Elkin’s Scaffolding is a novel that's remarkable for its combination of intellectual toughness and sensual precision. This investigation into multiple forms of exposure – inhabited by an array of chords and repeats and hauntings – feels urgently contemporary.’

Adam Thirlwell

'My week – my life! – has been hugely improved by this compulsive, twisting story of psychoanalysis, politics and the weirdness of inhabitation itself. Elkin writes about the wrong-headedness and right-headedness of desire with high intelligence spliced with voluble wit, and a dark clarity spliced with generosity.'

Lara Feigel

Scaffolding is a multi-layered, intelligent novel

i

'Lauren Elkin is a writer than can jump between genres so seamlessly, she deserves to be a household name...Elkin continues to dazzle with her keen observations and reflective prose'

Glamour

'A subtle, sexy, exquisitely written jewel of a book'

Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood

Scaffolding shows off Elkin’s rich, scholarly mind to great effect… a book laden with lust and desire… I expect to see Elkin’s debut feature on many end-of-year lists, and deservedly so

Frieze

Scaffolding is an ambitious, multi-generational book that reckons with legacy and feminist resistance…truly fascinating… a provocative study

i

[Scaffolding] unspools layers of psychic history to ask questions about the nature of desire and the possibility, or not, of intimacy… Anna’s first-person vice…is immersive. The conversations she reports feel authentic, with mundanities jostling up against profundities

Times Literary Supplement

Elkin’s first novel is a brainy sex comedy… Scaffolding joins books by Rachel Cusk and Deborah Levy, and as an erudite lust quadrilateral interested in ethical quandaries… There’s no shortage of excitement in the twists supplied by what each character doesn’t know (or chooses to hide or ignore) about one another

Observer

Scaffolding is absolutely a novel of ideas…The prose is as well crafted as Elkin’s nonfiction leads us to expect, and the characters are very finely developed… Not every good essayist should write a novel, but we should be glad Lauren Elkin did

Guardian

'An unabashedly philosophical novel — one that keeps the reader hooked by the sensuality of its prose'

Erica Wagner, Financial Times

A compelling work of fiction… the book will linger long in the reader’s heart and mind

Harper's Bazaar

This perplexing and intriguing novel is worth it… this is a novel that will make you think – about relationships, about what our memories and our identities mean when we try to end them or begin them

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