People Like Them

Original title: Des gens comme eux

Author: Sedira, Samira

Publication Date:

January 2020



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

English (World) (Penguin US)
Germany (Piper Verlag, at auction)


Crime & Thrillers, Literary Fiction

Foreign Covers

Penguin Books

People Like Them

Original title: Des gens comme eux

Author: Sedira, Samira


(Collection La Brune)

Sedira refuses to stereotype or follow easy routes in her novel. No one will emerge unscathed from it. The New York Times Book Review

Riveting. The New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

A taut examination of race and class . . . deftly translated . . . Sedira lays bare the perils of a callous society dominated by money and status, and the insidious racism that drives an ordinary man to murder. The Guardian

‘People Like Them’ is disturbing and powerful. It explores the topics of racism and jealousy in a very subtle way. I loved it. — Leila Slimani, bestselling author of ‘The Perfect Nanny’

Penguin Books is the publisher of Leïla Slimani’s ‘The Perfect Nanny’ as well as a number of other extremely successful psychological suspense authors— Flynn Berry and Celeste Ng, to name just a few. It’s a genre we know how to sell and a core part of our list. I’d like to take a chance on this brilliant, captivating novel. — Gretchen Schmid, acq. editor Penguin Books US

[A] delicious page-turner. — Entertainment Weekly

A potent little mélange of psychological suspense and racial tension . . . [and a] bucolic but unsettling portrayal of small-town jealousies and greed, class divides and incipient racism. . . . ‘People Like Them’ seem[s] at times more like a film — lulling and then horrifying the observer in its portrayal of village life gone terribly wrong. — The Los Angeles Times

Icy and chilling, ‘People Like Them’ is an investigation both of a crime and of the society that nurtured it. The novel’s precise, vivid writing brings to mind two other knock-outs from France, ‘The Adversary’ by Emmanuel Carrère and ‘Based on a True Story’ by Delphine de Vignan. In sharply drawn sentences, Sedira summons the beauty of a small French village, and the shocking acts of the people inside it. — Flynn Berry, Edgar Award-winning author of ‘Under the Harrow’ and ‘Northern Spy’

An impressive [debut] . . . The author deftly avoids the easier black and white morality in favor of the much more complex and realistic shades of grey. . . . This is the kind of book that you shouldn’t pick up late at night, because you won’t be putting it down again any time soon. ‘People Like Them’ is the best kind of compulsive, and will keep you glued to its pages until they’re done. — Mystery and Suspense Magazine

In her first novel to be translated into English, Sedira packs a powerful punch. . . . Deeply unsettling yet compulsively readable.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Sedira’s gripping tale . . . depicts how the realities of race, class, and socioeconomic status tragically supersede the national ideals of liberty, equality, and brotherhood in an insular French community. — Booklist

An engrossing tale of suspense, with a narrative voice that grips from the first page and incisive psychological insight that raises questions about class, race, marriage, and what it takes to commit a terrible crime. — The Arab Daily News

Unflinching. Every word in this crisply told story matters, and every seemingly-casual moment is laced with dread, daring you to look away. You won’t. — Ani Katz, author of ‘A Good Man’

‘People Like Them’ is a terrific novel. Dark and unsettling and brilliantly concise. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. — Jane Casey, author of The Burning

Captivating. — L’humanité

Full of empathy. — Le Nouveau Magazine Littéraire

Perfectly executed, and prize-worthy. — La Marseilleise

Absolutely admirable . . . One of the best books I’ve read recently. — Bernard Poirette, Europe 1

A scene of carnage in a mountain village when five family members are murdered by their neighbour. At the trial, his wife seeks to understand the infernal chain of events that led to her husband’s murdering spree. Strangers to the region, the Langlois settle in a remote village in a mountain valley where everybody knows each other and resembles each other. They are rich, or at least so it seems: they have an impressive chalet built opposite the modest abode of Anna et Constant, they own three flashy cars and they live in style. And Bakary Langlois is black. An ambiguous relationship develops between the two couples characterised by fascination, embarrassment, jealousy and possibly racism, all amid mutterings of fraudulent investments.

Inspired by a true story, the novel explores the claustrophobia of a small isolated community where the outsider both fascinates and disturbs on account of his social status, his skin colour and his lust for life – until the final carnage.

Marketing Information

  • Over 20,000 copies sold
  • English translation available
  • Winner of the Eugene-Dabit Prize for the Populist Novel
  • A CrimeReads Most Anticipated Novel

Foreign Covers

Penguin Books