"No small pleasure is to be had from the amusing, sometimes scabrous, satirical portraiture of illustrious figures . . . It is as if a roman policier has collided with the kind of campus novel Kingsley Amis would have written had he been of the generation and temperament to read Derrida's Of Grammatology. On its surface [The Seventh Function of Language is] a romp, then, a burlesque set in a time when literary theory was at its cultural zenith; knowing, antic, amusingly disrespectful and increasingly zany as it goes on . . . What works best here is a quality reminiscent of Barthes: the narrative's attentiveness, particularly to sharp details that resist the effort to read them as clues . . . At its least self-conscious The Seventh Function is maybe also at its most Barthesian." --Nicholas Dames, The New York Times Book Review
"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 . . . [Binet] brilliantly infuses even his serious points with sly humor . . . Like Nabokov's Lolita, this wonderfully clever novel can be enjoyed on multiple levels." ―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 the Author
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.