Friday July 3, 2020

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

28th May, 2017
François Mitterrand (left) and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (right) both pop up in Laurent Binet’s new novel Pic: Getty

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...

Subscribe from just €1 for the first month!

Exclusive offers:

All Digital Access + eReader



Unlimited Access for 1 Month

Then €19.99 a month after the offer period.

Get basic
*New subscribers only
You can cancel any time.



€149 For the 1st Year

Unlimited Access for 1 Year

You can cancel any time.




90 Day Pass

You can cancel any time.

Team Pass

Get a Business Account for you and your team

Related Stories

As a teenager, I loved my first experience working legally in the US. Trump’s abrupt decision to ban new visas will deprive many of our under-25s of a similar adventure

Nadine O’Regan | 5 days ago

The new reality means queues, lots of them, and it’s a test of character – so you’d better limber up

Nadine O’Regan | 2 weeks ago

The Co Tyrone teen is raising 37,930 tadpoles from a puddle in a field into froghood – and documenting it on the hottest social media platform of the pandemic

Emer McLysaght | 2 weeks ago