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Book Coda: A Novel (French Voices)

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Coda: A Novel (French Voices)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Coda: A Novel (French Voices).pdf | Language: English

“It is to me that we owe our immortality, and this is the story that proves it beyond all doubt.” With this sentence René Belletto begins a novel that compresses every genre he has worked in—thriller, science fiction, experimental literature, horror—into one breathless narrative in which what is at stake is nothing less than our own immortality.
 
Playing with the expectations of the reader, Belletto constructs a logical puzzle that defies logic, much like the “almost-perpetual motion machine” invented by the narrator of this novel and his father. What sets the story in (perpetual) motion is a package of frozen seafood. This lowly mechanism triggers a series of picaresque and otherworldly events, from the storyteller’s meeting with Fate disguised as a beautiful woman, to the kidnapping of his daughter, to his amorous reunion with the younger half-sister of a high school friend, to the elimination of death from the world. It’s a funny business, but Belletto’s playful and falsely transparent language opens the book to such serious matters as explorations of death, immortality, love, and the innocence of children.

Starred Review. This madcap, metaphysical mystery ably fits perpetual motion machines, immortality, and blood-sacrifice sects into 88 brisk and brainy pages. After narrator X's wife dies, he's left to raise their daughter, Anna. Things get strange when X discovers a mysterious box of clams in his refrigerator. It seems the clams went missing from a shipment intended for his neighbor, who is to host a large party. As X goes looking for answers, he meets Marthe, an uninvited guest who takes the place of Agathe, a childhood friend. X's liaisons culminate in a kidnapping, gunplay, and even more strange twists before everything—and, essentially, nothing—is resolved. Not a detail is wasted in this taut, cleverly conceived plot. The book is replete with doublings, references, and lingering remarks reminiscent of Cesar Aira, and is packed with bright ideas and memorable images. Elegant and smart, this novella leaves readers with questions that prove incredibly difficult to untangle. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. "Fans of Paul Auster's brand of literary gamesmanship will recognize a kindred spirit here."—Kirkus (Kirkus 2010-12-15)"This madcap, metaphysical mystery ably fits perpetual motion machines, immortality, and blood-sacrifice sects into 88 brisk and brainy pages. . . . Elegant and smart, this novella leaves readers with questions that prove incredibly difficult to untangle."—Publishers Weekly Starred review (Publishers Weekly 2011-01-03)"[Coda] is both enjoyable simply for the story that slowly unfolds as well as for the philosophical puzzle (and solution) it turns out to be."—M.A. Orthofer, Complete Review (M.A. Orthofer Complete Review 2011-04-30)"Coda cuts a wide berth in the reader's mind, beginning with a mysterious package of frozen clams appearing in the narrator's freezer and expanding to include perpetual motion machines, a fancy party, an alluring woman, and murder."—Paul Constant, The Stranger (Paul Constant The Stranger 2011-03-08)

2.4 (94273)
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Book details

  • PDF | 69 pages
  • Bison Books (March 1, 2011)
  • English
  • 6
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Nina Murray on May 17, 2011

    A pure whim of a book, and one that dramatically reveals one's preconceived notions of what a book ought to do or be. When you begin reading, it feels like a strangely underdeveloped mystery story in which clues, instead of being saved for a grand reveal in the end, are being interpreted on the spot without much concern for how realistic the interpretation may seem. The reading, then, begins to feel like a yarn, akin to a ghost story spun over a campfire--it trains you to suspend your disbelief and go along with its little incredibilities. The climax, when it comes, is profoundly satisfying--things fall into place, nothing is left unexplained, and the wit of the entire parable inspires a sense of imaginative accomplishment in you, the reader.


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