Synopses & Reviews
"As this overly philosophical novel begins, the Investigator arrives in a strange, unnamed city with a mandate to look into 'a most unusually high' suicide rate at the Enterprise, an organization worthy of both the adjectives Orwellian and Kafkaesque. There, he encounters the Waiter, the Policeman, the Night Clerk, and so on, and is met at every turn with petty bureaucracy, mindless conformity, and a surreal indifference to his needs. Frustrations mount until the Investigator cracks and, in an orgy of violence, destroys his already awful hotel room; though this leaves him feeling 'perfectly happy,' what follows is a truly hellish existence. Claudel's slim parable about the plight of contemporary existence cannot be considered an heir to classics like 1984 or The Metamorphosis. Though written in 2010, the Investigator's world is more reminiscent of Eastern Europe before the fall of communism than of 21st-century life. There's no subtlety or ambiguity; nothing is left to the imagination, from the lives of the characters to the ideas Claudel intends to illuminate. Few readers will be able to draw any parallels between the author's vision and contemporary society. (July 10)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
PHILIPPE CLAUDEL is the author of many novels, among them Brodeck, which won the Prix Goncourt des Lyceens in 2007 and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His novel By a Slow River has been translated into thirty languages and was awarded the Prix Renaudot in 2003 and the Elle Readers' Literary Prize in 2004. Claudel also wrote and directed the 2008 film I've Loved You So Long, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, which won a BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language.