Nominated by:

Bibliothèques Municipales Genève, Switzerland

M. Rudomino State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Harvill Secker, UK

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA

The 7th Function of Language

Laurent Binet      

Translated from the French by Sam Taylor

Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It’s February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident.

But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language – an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything.

Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight meetings. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society.

About the author

Laurent Binet lives and works in France. His first novel, HHhH,was an international bestseller which won the prestigious Prix Goncourt du premier roman, among other prizes.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments:

Intelligent, funny and very inventive.

To misquote the critic who reviewed the novel in The Guardian, it is playing the game of history in reverse. The fake anti-utopia by Binet is a hilariously funny and at the same time basically tragic artistic comment on our readiness to submit to fakedness in all its faked manifestations – national, global, informative, social, political and personal.


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