The Legal Life

Original title: La vie legale

Publication Date:

January 2021



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Literary Fiction, Politics, Society

The Legal Life

Original title: La vie legale


Divided into four sequences, each carrying the name of one of the women who features among the extensive cast of characters, La Vie l├ęgale tells the story of the invisible (or sometimes overly visible) heroes and heroines of the French state. Set in the early 2000s, the novel interweaves private apocalypses with national and global catastrophes, with the viral images of two smoking towers providing the ever-present backdrop.

This epic contemporary tale explores the future arc of the human adventure, characterized by a pervasive fear of new forms of obscurantism and racism, new police states and ever-tightening borders. Through the prism of individual lives being led legally, barely legally or illegally, Dominique Dupart constructs an alternative national novel that depicts a 21st-century France coming to terms with all its palpable failings, as well as hinting at potential new ways of living.