all this must be considered as if spoken by a character in a novel the literary critic and theorist wrote in his 1975 autobiography roland barthes life is not a novel laurent . Roland barthes one of the twentieth centurys towering literary figures is knocked down in a paris street by a laundry van its february 1980 and he has just come from lunch with francois mitterrand who is locked in a battle for the presidency. 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 . The seventh function of language is mostly quite enjoyable but also rather unwieldy binet packing more in especially more people than he can comfortably handle there are a lot of fun ideas here and even some provocative ones as well as some enjoyable take downs of intellectual preeners but it doesnt quite add up to a functional novel. Hes not the messiah hes a naughty boy monty pythons flying circus the surrealist english television and film troupe famous for among other things the hysterically funny life of brian was the new wave of british comedy in the 1970s
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