The Costa Award-winning author of The Pike makes her literary fiction debut with an extraordinary historical novel in the spirit of Wolf Hall and Atonement—a great English country house novel, spanning three centuries, that explores surprisingly timely themes of immigration and exclusion.
It is the seventeenth century and a wall is being raised around Wychwood, transforming the great house and its park into a private realm of ornamental lakes, grandiose gardens, and majestic avenues designed by Mr. Norris, a visionary landscaper. In this enclosed world everyone has something to hide after decades of civil war. Dissenters shelter in the woods, lovers rendezvous in secret enclaves, and outsiders—migrants fleeing the plague—find no mercy.
Three centuries later, far away in Berlin, another wall is raised, while at Wychwood, an erotic entanglement over one sticky, languorous weekend in 1961 is overshadowed by news of historic change. Young Nell, whose father manages the estate, grows up amid dramatic upheavals as the great house is invaded: a pop festival by the lake, a television crew in the dining room, a Great Storm brewing. In 1989, as the Cold War peters out, a threat from a different kind of conflict reaches Wychwood’s walls.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett conjures an intricately structured, captivating story that explores the lives of game keepers and witches, agitators and aristocrats; the exuberance of young love and the pathos of aging; and the way those who try to wall others out risk finding themselves walled in. With poignancy and grace, she illuminates a place where past and present are inextricably linked by stories, legends, and history—and by one patch of peculiar ground.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the author of The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, the Political Book Award for Political Biography of the Year, and the Costa Biography Award; Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions, which won the Fawcett Prize and the Emily Toth Award; and Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen. She lives in London.
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, Judith Butler, and Julia Kristeva—as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory (starting with the French version of Roland Barthes for Dummies). 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 TheDa Vinci Code—The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafés of Saint-Germain to the corridors of Cornell University, and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the Roman Empire. Binet has written both a send-up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.
Este fascinante libro relata el proceso por cual se convirtió en lo que fue: la evolución de artista libertino e idealista romántico a revolucionario radical fascista, en paralelo, a su vez, al desarrollo de la turbulencia política de Italia y Europa de principios del siglo XX, es decir, del nacimiento del culto al nacionalismo y del origen del extremismo político. Así, el libro empieza con una serie de flases que repasan toda su vida, desde su precocidad de poeta brillante con apenas 17 años de edad, hasta su muerte en 1937 a los 74 años.
Luego, la autora se centra en el final de su exilio de cinco años en París y su diseñado y orquestado regreso a Italia al más puro estilo Garibaldi, para promocionar el movimiento de apoyo a la entrada de Italia en la segunda guerra mundial.