“The 7th Function of Language” by Laurent Binet (France)

    With this freewheeling fantasy about the death of the celebrated French critic, Binet delivers a second novel as erudite and engaging as his first. This is a novel that 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.” – The Guardian

    “The 7th Function of Language” (La Septième fonction du langage, 2015), superbly translated by Sam Taylor, is alternate historical thriller who received in 2015 Le prix du roman Fnac and Prix Interallié.

    It’s a finalist for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize.

    It is as erudite and readable as its predecessor, although this time, instead of having as its raison d’être the scrupulous rendering of historical fact, it uses a single event – the death of the critic Roland Barthes – as the springboard for a wildly inventive and engaging tale of scholars, spies and secret societies.

    Roland Barthes, perhaps the greatest of the critical theorists whose work came to dominate postwar cultural discourse, died from injuries sustained when he was hit by a laundry van in February 1980.

    Laurent Binet’s novel imagines that the death of the author of “The Death of the Author” was not an accident but an intricately plotted assassination, weaving around it a story of professional rivalry, political intrigue and lashings of critical theory.

    The 7th Function of Language” is one of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you’ll read this year.”

    Laurent Binet (born 19 July 1972) is a French writer and university lecturer. His work focuses on the modern political scene in France.

    The son of a historian, Laurent Binet was born in Paris. He graduated from the University of Paris with a degree in Literature. He teaches French in a Parisian suburb and also at the University of Saint-Denis.

    Binet was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman (The 2010 Goncourt Award for the First Novel) for “HHhH“. The novel recounts the assassination of Nazi beast Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 as a result of Operation Anthropoid.

    In August 2012, Binet published “Rien ne se passe comme prévu” (Nothing goes as planned), a behind-the-scenes account of the successful presidential campaign of François Hollande, which Binet witnessed while embedded with Hollande’s campaign staff.

    In 2015, Binet published “La Septième Fonction du langage” (The Seventh Function of Language).

    La vie professionnelle de Laurent B” (The Professional Life of Laurent B), 2004
    HHhH“, 2010
    Rien ne se passe comme prévu” (Nothing Goes as Planned), 2012
    La Septième Fonction du langage” (The Seventh Function of Language), 2015

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