Family is at the crux of Catherine Leroux's The Party Wall, which traces the fortunes of four sets of relatives, primarily siblings, who undergo life-altering events and reach a new understanding of themselves and each other as a result. Six brief pieces about Monette and Angie take place on a single day as the two young sisters go through a series of encounters on the streets of their home town, the last of which leaves Angie injured and fighting for her life. In two longer stories, the fraught relationship between widowed Madeleine and her son Edouard is the focus, a relationship that is complicated by a shocking medical diagnosis. Another pair of stories follows the steep fall of power couple Ariel and Marie from the lofty perch of political supremacy to a situation of penurious obscurity in a rural backwater, a shift in fortune caused by a devastating discovery concerning their family lineage. And two stories tell of the separate quests of siblings Simon and Carmen to learn more of their own tangled family histories following the death of their mother Frannie. Leroux invents clever scenarios (loosely based on those of some actual people, as she acknowledges in a postscript) and creates rapid-fire drama as these tales of personal destiny and identity veer in unexpected and surprising directions. Leroux's voice in these stories is confident, and has been smoothly rendered into English by Lazer Lederhendler. Some reviewers refer to Leroux's book as a novel, and though many connections are drawn among the stories and characters from some appear in others, most readers will understandably experience the book as a collection of linked stories.