Mathilde, a spirited young Frenchwoman, falls in love with Amine, a handsome Moroccan soldier in the French army during World War II. After the war, the couple settles in Morocco. While Amine tries to cultivate his family farm's rocky terrain, Mathilde feels her vitality sapped by the isolation, the harsh climate, the lack of money to raise her two children, and the mistrust she inspires as a foreigner. But she comes to defy the country's chauvinism as repressive social codes by offering medical services to the rural population.
As tensions mount between the Moroccans and the Frnech colonists, Amine find himself caught in the crossfire: in solidarity with his Moroccan workers yet also a landowner, despised by the French yet married to a Frenchwoman, and proud of his wife's resolve but ashamed by her refusal to be subjugated. All of them live in the country of others - especially the women, forced to live in the land of men - and with this novel, Leila Slimani issues the first salvo in their emancipation.