The Seventh Function of Language
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, Judith Butler, and Julia Kristeva--as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory (starting with the French version of Roland Barthes for Dummies). 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 with more than a dash of The Da Vinci Code--The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Saint-Germain to the corridors of Cornell University, and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.
- Hardback | 368 pages
- 147 x 216 x 28mm | 454g
- 19 Sep 2017
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- New York, United States
Other books in this series
26 Jun 2018
06 Mar 2018
19 Jun 2018
19 Sep 2017
"A cunning, often hilarious mystery for the Mensa set and fans of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia . . . In addition to some challenging thickets of language theory, the novel is packed with drama -- car chases, mutilations, suicide, graphic sex, and multiple murders . . . Sam Taylor's deft translation encompasses heavy linguistic exegeses, political discussions, oratory duels, and even some puns, including echo and Eco . . ." --Heller McAlpin, NPR
"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." --Esquire
"[Binet] ups the metafictional ante with The Seventh Function of Language . . . This novel is alive with the potential signifiers lurking behind language . . . A charming roman à clef like no other . . . [A] loving inquiry into 20th-century intellectual history that seamlessly folds historical moments . . . into a brilliant illustration of the possibilities left to the modern novel." --Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)
"Binet's second novel is at once a mystery and a satire of mysteries . . . A clever and surprisingly action-packed attempt to merge abstruse theory and crime drama." --Kirkus Reviews
About Laurent Binet
Sam Taylor has written for The Guardian, the Financial Times, Vogue, and Esquire, and has translated such works as the award-winning HHhH by Laurent Binet and the internationally bestselling The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affairby Joël Dicker.