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The Investigation: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 10, 2012
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—The Wall Street Journal
"Amusing and affecting ... Despite its far-from-realist mode and its parable of life under late capitalism, The Investigation is no allegory. It's too sharp and too funny. And despite its setting in a city that deliberately evokes all cities and no particular city, The Investigation resists every tendency toward ponderous moralism, instead marking each apparent injustice with a light, but never unsympathetic, touch."
Praise for Brodeck
"Arrives like a fresh, why-haven’t-we-known-him discovery, revealing Philippe Claudel to be as dazzling on the page as he is on the screen."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A haunting, intensely claustrophobic allegory about intolerance, trauma, and guilt."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"Deeply wise and classically beautiful . . . It is a modern masterpiece."
—The Daily Telegraph
"Original, brilliant, and disturbing . . . Claudel is a novelist of ideas, in the French tradition."
—The Times (London)
"In John Cullen’s deft translation, Claudel’s writing is lucid and passionate. . . . An excellent novel."
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Top Customer Reviews
Yup. I really liked this one. So I started reading it, and then kept reading it, and kept reading it, until I was about a third of the way through and realized i was starving. So we went to go eat.
Then I went home and kept reading it.
And here's where it gets trippy. Admittedly, I was exhausted... just... so .... tired. But, see, I kept reading. And I started questioning reality, and my existence, and WHY is that light so bright... and who's keeping my husband away from me? AM I real? What's happening?...
and, normally, I'm not that kind of girl... ;)
Then I was interrupted and was not able to finish until the following evening. Overall, I was very pleased with the book.
And, gosh, what's it about. It is almost an everyman type of story... the characters are identified by their duties. And the Investigator is sent to Investigate an unusual circumstance with the Enterprise. There are, to say the least, obstacles in his efforts to uncover the truth he was sent to investigate. I think I can safely say, just read it. I hate spoilers, especially any hints regarding this kind of book.
But I will say, there are the "surreal" aspects that other mention; it's just that it's more than that. It's an allegory and a warning, and a tale to which many of us can relate. Plus it's creative and thoughtful.
Interestingly, my break in reading the novel occurs around the same time as the Investigator's.... ah, discovery of sorts. The tone seemed to shift. It had a satisfying end. But it just wasn't perfect.
But I Definitely recommend the book.
(four and a half stars)
The Investigation: A Novel is a bizarre and oddly entertaining book. The reader is quickly swept into a bleak, confusing experience that mirrors the dark side of our existence. The Investigator's frustration in his attempts to do his job pours over the pages of the book. Claudel brilliantly reveals the bureaucracy and absurdity of the nightmare The Investigator finds himself in. The writing is full of pessimism and whimsy. The reader can imagine herself in this bleak dilemma and laugh at herself at the same time. Frustrations with erratic vending machines, stuck restroom hand towel rollers and dead cell phones give the farce a humanity we can relate to. Society functions in The Enterprise, but no real interpersonal relationships exist. Anonymity and lack of emotion pervade the society.
The poor Investigator is foiled on every turn. Random bizarre events happen constantly. He checks into a hotel and has his identification papers confiscated. He never can get his clothes dry. A spa-like bathroom pumps only boiling water. He crashes into a wall after following a green "life line." He is served gourmet breakfast in the midst of massed, hungry Displacees. All the while, he feels he is being watched, but doesn't know why or by whom.
The author manipulates words with suppleness and simplicity. The book is a fast read. Descriptions are well cast. "It wasn't really cold, but the humidity acted like an octopus whose slender tentacles managed to find their way into the tiniest open spaces between skin and clothing.Read more ›
The poor Investigator suffers one mishap after another. He is drenched, his clothes are ruined, he catches cold, and when he finally comes upon a gate to the Enterprise it is the middle of the night and he is rudely sent away. When he eventually finds a hotel, his misfortunes only deepen. The rude Giantess takes and loses his identification, the Waiter gives him nothing fit to eat, the Tourist spills scalding coffee all over him, and the Policeman accuses him of vandalizing the ladies' room!
Gradually, however, this novel that starts as a slapstick comedy begins to morph into a surreal, irrational nightmare. The City and the Enterprise are not part of our world as we know it, or perhaps they are a perfect depiction of our world as we refuse to accept it. The Investigator cries out for answers:
"I'm tossed back and forth, bashed around, bruised and then petted, knocked over and then stood upright again. I'm placed and displaced. I'm forbidden to cross a street and then I'm led across it. I'm smiled upon, I'm embraced, I'm cheered, only to be dashed the next minute against a wall.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This dystopian novel about a futuristic world run by The Enterprise (or a world sen through the eyes of a fabulist) is continuously diverting with clever threading together of... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Jake Stanley
Not that Kafka isn't worth rereading; he was a master. But Kafka isn't worth rewriting, which is what Philippe Claudel seems to be doing in this excruciating, and essentially... Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Paul Benjamin
You'll be transported to this "dream" world where nothing is as it appears. Haunting, disturbing--imaginative, whimsical, comical. Very fresh. Read morePublished on February 25, 2013 by db
'The Investigation' is a smooth read, an intriguing story about a man who visits an unfamiliar town to investigate a series of suicides at the Firm. Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by Tony's Reading List
The Investigation in three words - surreal, absurd, enchanting. It's a difficult book to review because, while I very much enjoyed reading it, I really don't feel like the writing... Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by SusieBookworm (Susanna P)