Establishes Laurent Binet as the clear heir to the late Umberto Eco, writing novels that are both brilliant and playful, dense with ideas while never losing sight of their need to entertain... one of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you’ll read this year
Alex Preston, Observer
A playful conspiracy thriller.
Guardian, 2017 Books of the Year
Lively, earthy, experimental, ambitious, clever and endlessly entertaining… The recondite world of literary and linguistic theory collides delightfully with the pulsating one of desperate car chases, Bulgarian heavies brandishing poisoned umbrellas, and international espionage… Smart, witty, direct, cool
Hal Jensen, The Times Literary Supplement
May 15, 2017
May 18, 2017
May 4, 2017
Life is not a novel. Or at least you would like to believe so. Roland Barthes walks up Rue de Bièvre. The greatest literary critic of the twentieth century has every reason to feel anxious and upset. His mother, with whom he had a highly Proustian relationship, is dead. And his course on ‘The Preparation of the Novel’ at the Collège de France is such a conspicuous failure it can no longer be ignored: all year, he has talked to his students about Japanese haikus, photography, the signifier and the signified, Pascalian diversions, café waiters, dressing gowns, and lecture-hall seating – about everything but the novel. And this has been going on for three years. He knows, without a doubt, that the course is simply a delaying tactic designed to push back the moment when he must start a truly literary work, one worthy of the hypersensitive writer lying dormant within him and who, in everyone’s opinion, began to bud in his A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, which has become a bible for the under-twenty-fives. From Sainte-Beuve to Proust, it is time to step up and take the place that awaits him in the literary pantheon. Maman is dead: he has come full circle since Writing Degree Zero. The time has come.
Politics? Yeah, yeah, we’ll see about that. He can’t really claim to be very Maoist since his trip to China. Then again, no one expects him to be.
Chateaubriand, La Rochefoucauld, Brecht, Racine, Robbe-Grillet, Michelet, Maman. A boy’s love.Continue Reading