Waiting For Tomorrow Summary & Study Guide

Nathacha Appanah
This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Waiting For Tomorrow.
This section contains 708 words
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Waiting For Tomorrow Summary & Study Guide Description

Waiting For Tomorrow Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Waiting For Tomorrow by Nathacha Appanah.

The following edition of this book was used to write this study guide: Appanah, Nathacha. Waiting for Tomorrow. Translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan. Graywolf Press, 2018. Paperback.

A brief flash-forward reveals that a husband, Adam, has been in jail for four years while his wife, Anita, waits for him. Adam is in jail because another woman, Adéle, has drowned in a lake.

Twenty years earlier, Adam and Anita met at a New Years’ Eve party in Paris: both of them are introverted, and run into each other while trying to avoid the party. Adam is from a rural area of France, and Anita is from the African island country of Mauritius. They move in together, and briefly travel to Mauritius to investigate the sudden death of Anita’s father in a car accident. They move to Adam’s quiet home region of France and give birth to a daughter, Laura. Adam works as a successful architect, while Anita works as a part-time contributor to the local newspaper. One day, Anita is given her biggest assignment yet: to review a concert of Mauritian music at a local bar.

Another woman in the region, named Adéle, is riding a bus to her job as a nanny when the bus collides with a car. The accident flings Adéle from the bus, but she is able to rescue the son and husband who were in the car. The episode is traumatic for Adéle because her own husband and son had died in a car accident in her home country of Mauritius, prompting her to move to France. After spending a couple of hours recovering in the hospital, Adéle still goes to her second job later that night, which is working as a bartender at the venue that will host the Mauritian music. She meets Anita that night, and they talk for a long time after the show, quickly building a trustworthy bond.

Shortly thereafter, Anita hires Adéle as her own nanny, to care for Laura. Adéle’s serene attitude means that she is a nearly ideal nanny, making life easier for Anita. However, Anita begins to write a manuscript about the intimate details of Adéle’s life, writing as if she were Adéle herself. The novel then shares the manuscript which Anita had been writing: Adéle was born as Melody in Mauritius, where she married a compassionate man named Ben. Ben and their young son, Vicky, passed away in a sudden car accident. After this, Adéle changed her name and illegally moved to France, where she has been living ever since in a quiet state of depression.

One day, when Adéle has worked for the family for two years, Adam receives the news that one of his friends has cancer. Distraught, Adam returns home in the middle of the day, not realizing that Adéle would be there alone. Adam and Adéle quickly and passionately make love. After, Adéle scrambles to find paper on which she can write a farewell note to the family, when she happens to discover Anita’s manuscript. Adéle goes to read the manuscript on the edge of a local lake, not knowing that Adam has followed her there. Coincidentally, Anita is taking Laura on a walk around the lake at the exact same time.

Anita sees Adéle reading the manuscript, and begins, uncharacteristically, to angrily shout at and confront her. This inspires young Laura to do the same. Laura pushes Adéle into the lake, and happens to fall in herself. Anita dives into the lake, but in order to save her manuscript. Adam runs out from his cover and dives into the lake to save Laura, leaving Adéle to pass away. Laura sustains permanent physical and mental injuries as a result of being under the surface for too long. Adam and Anita concoct a cover story for the authorities, involving a longtime affair between Adam and Adéle, and Adam goes to prison for Adéle’s death. After Adam serves his sentence of nearly five years, he quietly returns home, and the family’s days are filled with an increasing sense of pointlessness.

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