Nominated by:

Bibliothèque de la Part-Dieu, Lyon, France

Publisher of nominated edition:

Hamish Hamilton, UK

The Victoria System

Éric Reinhardt      

Translated from the original French by Sam Taylor

2015 Longlist

David Kolski never sleeps with the same woman twice – apart from his wife.
Then he meets Victoria. Head of people at a multinational company, by day she is a ruthless executive in a lightning-paced, high-pressured whirlwind of power and productivity. By night she likes good wine, luxurious hotel rooms, and abandoning herself to her sexual fantasies.

David is soon addicted. Under crushing pressure at work to oversee the construction of a huge Paris tower-block in near-impossible circumstances, he takes new vigour and inspiration from his hard-headed capitalist lover. He works harder, faster and better, and then escapes to indulge in the most intense sexual passion he’s ever experienced.
But when Victoria offers to use her position to help him in his career, a dark shadow falls over their affair. Is she really capable of helping anyone other than herself, or is she hiding something from him? And who are the two men in the Audi he keeps seeing, always a few cars behind him?

Complex, compelling and ambitiously structured, The Victoria System is a daringly sensual story of an obsession. Part erotica; part thriller; part novel of ideas, like a series of slightly angled mirrors held up to our globalised, capitalist society, the twists and turns of its narrative create a dazzling interplay of reflections and compel us to question the assumptions and forces of our modern world.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Éric Reinhardt is the is the author of six novels and a freelance publisher of art books. He lives and works in Paris. The Victoria System was first published in French in 2011 and was nominated for the Prix Goncourt, the Prix Renaudot and the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Francais. It is his first novel to be translated into English.

About the Translator

Sam Taylor is the translator of the novels HHhH and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, and the author of The Island at the End of thr World, The Amnesiac and The Republic of Trees. After ten years in France, he now lives in the United States.

Librarian’s Comments

An ample and tragic novel, mixing sex, power games and onirism. A merciless mirror and a vitriolic portrait of our time. Ambitious, complex, Éric Reinhardt has completely mastered the subject. It is audacious, cheeky, resonant, disburbing, heady and last but not the least, amazing.

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