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What a Ghost Wants

Michael Newton: Laurent Binet, 8 November 2012

by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 336 pp., £16.99, May 2012, 978 1 84655 479 7
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... Laurent Binet has written an excellent novel about the absurdity of writing any kind of novel at all. HHhH retells the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, by two Czech special agents, Jozef Gabčik and Jan Kubiš, their subsequent deaths and the terrible retaliation enacted by the Nazis on the Czech people, which culminated in the massacre of all the inhabitants of the villages of Lidice and Ležáky ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... patient they had on their hands? ‘It’s a shame there is no photographer in the room,’ Laurent Binet writes in his dramatisation of the visit, ‘to immortalise this great moment in the history of French intellectuals.’ In his first novel, HHhH (2010), which tells the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Who is François Hollande?, 13 September 2012

... nomination and the presidential campaign is told with wit and great charm by the novelist Laurent Binet in Rien ne se passe comme prévu (Grasset, ¤17), a Hunter S. Thompson-style, all-aboard diary which follows the candidate through two contests, from the summer of 2011 to the night of 6 May 2012 at the place de la Bastille where the future ...

Draw on a Moustache

Chris Power: Nona Fernández, 1 December 2022

The Twilight Zone 
by Nona Fernández, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Daunt, 232 pp., £10.99, July 2022, 978 1 914198 21 2
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... private last moments of someone about to disappear will fall short.’ This is the same disavowal Laurent Binet makes in HHhH, his attempt to write a historical novel devoid of invention: ‘I refuse to write a sentence like: “Automatically they checked the release boxes and static lines of their parachute harnesses.” Even if, without a doubt, they ...

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