Laurent Binet's novel is trapped in a postmodern cul-de-sac

Laurent Binet's novel is trapped in a postmodern cul-de-sac

Some entertaining bits of thriller business but after those first hundred pages, things deteriorate

FICTION: The 7th Function of Language, By Laurent Binet; translated by Sam Taylor, Harvill Secker, €17

‘Life is not a novel,” goes the opening sentence of Laurent Binet’s new novel, before continuing: “Or at least you would like to believe so.”

This might strike Anglophone readers as a characteristically French observation. Certainly, it inaugurates a metafictional romp that could have been written in no other country. Binet’s first novel, HHhH (2010; translated into...

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