Binet wrote the brilliant historical novel HHhH (2013) about the assassination of Heydrich in Prague in 1942. Naturally I bought this new book, without reading a review, and found myself engaging with a French intellectual. It was very bracing.
The 7th Function of Language is a multi-layered novel. Firstly it’s a satire on mid-20th Century French philosophy. Very unpromising material unless you happen to be a genius. Fortunately for the reader Binet is a genius. Secondly it’s a political satire about the presidential race between Mitterand and Giscard d’Estaing. Mitterand was a serial loser and would do anything to achieve victory. The 7th Function of Language was to be the key. Finally there is a further satire about the intense intellectual debates within philosophy. Binet creates the Club Logos. There are thrills and spills.
The 7th Function of Language achieves the impossible. It carries the reader along a wave of French intellectualism and is a thriller. This book needs to be read. It isn’t a casual read but it is magnificent. So if you’re tired of police procedurals, sadistic murders, celebrity biographies and cook books this is for you.