Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Seventh Function of Language

The Seventh Function of Language

A Novel

Laurent Binet; Translated from the French by Sam Taylor

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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From the prizewinning author of HHhH, “the most insolent novel of the year” (L’Express) is 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, 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 CodeThe 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.

EXCERPT

PART I

PARIS


1

Life is not a novel. Or at least you would like to believe so. Roland Barthes walks up Rue de Bièvre. The greatest literary critic of the twentieth century has every reason to feel anxious...

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About the author

Laurent Binet; Translated from the French by Sam Taylor

Laurent Binet was born in Paris, France, in 1972. His first novel, HHhH, was named one of the fifty best books of 2015 by The New York Times and received the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. He is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature.

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.

Laurent Binet

© Enfinbref—Seix Barral

Sam Taylor

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