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The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet
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The Seventh Function of Language

$20.99 USD

Retail price (USD): $22.95

Discount: 9%

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Narrator Bronson Pinchot
Translator Sam Taylor
Length 12 hours 26 minutes
Language English
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From the prizewinning author of HHhH comes The Seventh Function of Language, a romp through the French intelligentsia of the twentieth century.

Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies―struck by a laundry van―after lunch with the presidential candidate François Mitterand. The world of letters mourns a tragic accident. But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? What if Barthes was murdered?

In The Seventh Function of Language, Laurent Binet spins a madcap secret history of the French intelligentsia, starring such luminaries as Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva―as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory. Soon Bayard finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious “seventh function of language.”

A brilliantly erudite comedy that recalls Flaubert’s Parrot and The Name of the Rose―with more than a dash of The Da Vinci Code—The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Paris to the corridors of Cornell University and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the era of the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.

Laurent Binet was born in Paris in 1972. He is the author the debut novel HHhH, which won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman and was named one of the fifty best books of 2015 by the New York Times. His memoir, La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B., tells of his experience teaching in secondary schools in Paris. He is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature.

Bronson Pinchot, Audible’s Narrator of the Year for 2010, has won Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Awards, AudioFile Earphones Awards, Audible’s Book of the Year Award, and Audie Awards for several audiobooks, including Matterhorn, Wise Blood, Occupied City, and The Learners. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale, he is an Emmy- and People’s Choice-nominated veteran of movies, television, and Broadway and West End shows. His performance of Malvolio in Twelfth Night was named the highlight of the entire two-year Kennedy Center Shakespeare Festival by the Washington Post. He attended the acting programs at Shakespeare & Company and Circle-in-the-Square, logged in well over 200 episodes of television, starred or costarred in a bouquet of films, plays, musicals, and Shakespeare on Broadway and in London, and developed a passion for Greek revival architecture.

Sam Taylor is a novelist and journalist who has lived in France for over a decade. His novel The Amnesiac was published in 2008, and his translation of Laurence Binet’s novel HHhH was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Reviews

“This ‘Dan Brown style’ thriller is delivered with a decided wink…The audio shines…Narrator Bronson Pinchot revels in the novel’s absurdist mix. In one memorable scene, his characters deliver esoteric exposition against the increasingly disruptive backdrop of other characters who are engaged in less academic activities.”

“At once a buddy-cop plot, a fish-out-of-water comedy, and a spy thriller…[with] amusing, sometimes scabrous, satirical portraiture of illustrious figures…Knowing, antic, amusingly disrespectful, and increasingly zany as it goes on.”

“The most outrageously entertaining novel of the year, a defamatory fantasy about the supposed secret lives of eminent post-structuralists. A joy.”

“An intellectual thriller that will be catnip to serious readers…There’s so much fun to be had in The Seventh Function of Language, compellingly brought into English by Sam Taylor. Foucault, and Sollers, in particular, come across as wildly comic figures.”

“An affectionate send-up of an Umberto Eco–style intellectual thriller that doubles as an exemplar of the genre, filled with suspense, elaborate conspiracies, and exotic locales.”

“A rollicking crime caper…It had me rolling on the floor of the Paris Metro when I read it.”

“A charming roman à clef like no other…A brilliant illustration of the possibilities left to the modern novel.”

“It gets bloody, it gets erotic, and the depiction of some real-life characters is spicily shocking. Sensational fun for the intellectually astute.”

“Binet doesn’t just use the history of semiotics to gild a predictable thriller with intellectual pretension. He instead draws out the sometimes conspiratorial implications of using literary techniques to interpret everyday life. What if everything really does mean something?”

“At once a mystery and a satire of mysteries…A clever and surprisingly action-packed attempt to merge abstruse theory and crime drama.”

“A humorous, historical, literary whodunit that sweeps readers into the grungy 1980s underground of French academia.”

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