Marie lives in the Nord and is mentally adrift until an illegal immigrant helps her change her wheel, which plants a firm seed. She has a loving husband and two young kids, but still needs serious help. She loses her supermarket check-out job on a crazy fit of temper, and is suddenly caught up in the world of illegal immigrants, those risking their lives to reach the shores of England.
She very soon discovers the sordid reality of the immigrants' life, the danger of the violent police, the deaths by the desperate people to escape from what amounts to a death sentence in their native country.
But Marie's awakening comes at a price: that of severing contact with her own family, of bringing back fleas, and her children (completely wrongly) being called the children of a prostitute, of her school bus driver husband dumping children in the middle of a beetroot field in the freezing cold, etc.
Fortunately, although there may be no cure for the immigrants' problems, there seems to be a strong possibility for Marie to return to her family when she's cured. Obviously this novel is a political statement, but an important one.
My other Olivier Adam posts:
Olivier Adam: Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas
Olivier Adam: Des vents contraires
Olivier Adam: Le Cœur régulier
Olivier Adam: Falaises
Olivier Adam: Les Lisières