The Seventh Function of Language
by Laurent Binet
translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017
Laurent Binet’s previous novel translated into English, 2013’s HHhH, was a strange and weirdly memorable thing, a fictional representation of the 1942 assassination of arch-Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich that was both powerfully impressionistic and scrupulously accurate. The book enjoyed a well-deserved success and still has what the publishing industry used to refer to as “legs.”
It’s tougher to imagine the same kind of long-term popularity for the newest Binet to be translated into English, 2015’s The Seventh Function of Language.