I’ve just finished reading Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin. Its hot pink cover had been screaming at me for a while so I bought a new copy, not second-hand, not hand-me-down or eBay.

The thing I liked about reading this was the atmosphere; it sucked me right in. Set in and around Paris in the ‘60s, it follows Anne as she escapes from prison. Her fall from the gate smashes her ankle (L’Astragal in French) so she drags herself to the side of a motorway and is happened upon by Julien - a charismatic small-time criminal and ex-convict who begins hiding her where he can: first with his mother. Her relationship with Julien begins as a sibling-esque connection (although sexual) and becomes something sweeter and tenderer as time goes on and they fall in love.

The themes of dependency, vulnerability, and the underground run throughout and the relationships are insightful between Anne and her Julien, and also Anne and Annie (one of the women who takes her in). The narrative and the thoughts of Anne are jumpy and inconsistent but believable and intriguing. She’s a 19-year-old escapee who, ultimately, when she can walk again, finds herself on the streets of Paris living as a prostitute and petty thief. But although this protagonist is ruthless and childish in a way, there’s something about her free spirit that’s affirming and creatively inspiring.

Lyla Foy's new album Bigger Brighter is due out in September. Check out the video for 'Far Behind You' below, and be sure to go see her live on October 4th at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in London.