Fiction A French Novel by Frédéric Beigbeder Omnivore REview

Published on September 1st, 2013


A French Novel by Frédéric Beigbeder

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Blurb: Arrested for snorting cocaine off a car bonnet, award-winning author and quintessential dilettante Frederic Beigbeder reflects on his troubled childhood, while spending a night in the cells. (Fourth Estate, 2013)

Other books by the author

Ivan Juritz, The Independent

“The novel is striking in its lack of bravado – gone is the facetious tone which earned Beigbeder his reputation as the enfant terrible of French letters; gone too is the self-assurance that moved him to use his pronouncement on second novels as an epigraph for his own second novel. A French Novel is not so much an addition to his oeuvre as a commentary on it, a kind of soul-searching coda.”

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Leo Robson, The New Statesman

“In its mixture of wildness and rigour, exhaustion and rapture, impudence and earnestness, A French Novel reminded this reader of – to adopt for a moment Beigbeder’s name-splattering style – Michel Houellebecq with a human face, Nabokov in both his huffy and dewy modes, Marcel Proust at his most Paul Morley-ish (“Nutella had not yet arrived from Italy”). Beigbeder’s gifts are remarkable but for a book so steeped in its native land and language to retain its exhilarating sharpness and the jazziness of its juxtapositions requires the work of a translator no less rare.”

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Sylvia Brownrigg, The Guardian

“Beigbeder is smart and amusing, and issues a busy, entertaining broadcast of high-low cultural references: Flaubert, Céline and foie gras on some pages, Jack BauerAbsolutely Fabulous and Carambar on others. The book is also somewhat at war with itself …  Beigbeder’s intriguing art in A French Novel is walking a fine line between self-pity and self-awareness, a balance captured in pithy remarks like this one: “It is difficult to recover from an unhappy childhood, but to recover from a sheltered childhood may be impossible.”"

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