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Publisher's Summary

From the prizewinning author of HHhH comes The Seventh Function of Language, a romp through the French intelligentsia of the 20th 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.

©2017 Laurent Binet (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Outstanding reader! Excellent choice of victim(s).


Starts Sherlock Holmes nee deconstructor, spins Pychon-esque. Ends Hollywood. Hard to stop listening, so I didn't.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This Is My Favorite Book on Audible!

Binet’s hilarious, scathing send-up of 1980’s intellectual culture is brought to life by the masterful narration of Bronson Pinchot. Weaving history and philosophy with taut pacing and scintillating suspense, Binet and Pinchot take the listener on a madcap romp through a world rife with secret societies, conspiracies, and magic that feels deceptively real. Part political thriller, buddy-cop comedy, and magical quest, The Seventh Function of Language is an unpausable adventure that will thrill any listener.

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Delicious French Politico-Philosophico Procedural

What did you love best about The Seventh Function of Language?

Eco-esque wit. Undermines and revels in the collision of 20th century french intellectualism and realpolitik!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Seventh Function of Language?

The political dinners combining political arrogance, insecurity, philosophy and haute (nee paysanne) cuisine.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

he has a devious sense of timing and delivery. Generally good pronunciations of french words and names.

If you could rename The Seventh Function of Language, what would you call it?

Death and Dismemberment on the Philosophy Express? No, seriously, current title is great.

Any additional comments?

Obligato!