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Chopin's Move
     

Chopin's Move

by Jean Echenoz, Mark Polizzotti (Translator)
 

With his trademark comically wry phrasing and a sure eye for quirky detail, Echenoz has produced his oddest and most enjoyable novel to date. Chopin's Move interweaves the fates of Chopin, entomologist and recalcitrant secret agent; Oswald, a young foreign-affairs employee who vanishes en route to his new home; Suzy, who gets enmeshed in a tangle of deceit and

Overview

With his trademark comically wry phrasing and a sure eye for quirky detail, Echenoz has produced his oddest and most enjoyable novel to date. Chopin's Move interweaves the fates of Chopin, entomologist and recalcitrant secret agent; Oswald, a young foreign-affairs employee who vanishes en route to his new home; Suzy, who gets enmeshed in a tangle of deceit and counterdeceit; the mysterious Colonel Seck, whose motivations are never quite what they seem; and a typically Echenozian supporting cast of neurotic bodyguards, disquieting functionaries, and crafty double agents. As the plot thickens, the characters become embroiled in layer upon layer of deception and double-dealing, leading them further into a world in which nothing can be taken at face value and in which "reality" hinges on apparently harmless coincidence.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"... a gripping, quirky novel full of intrigue, wit, and a sophistication not typically seen in the average spy story--and also filled with typical French ennui."--Booklist

Dalkey Archive Press

Publishers Weekly
Secrets and lies abound in Echenoz's latest wry sendup of the spy thriller, which features a mysterious colonel, a reluctant secret agent, a magnetic beauty and a vanished husband. The shadowy Colonel Seck has been trailing Franck Chopin, an entomologist and sometime secret agent whose technique gives new meaning to the term "fly on the wall." On a walk, Chopin spots-and instantly falls in love with-Suzy Clair, who tells him that her husband, Oswald, who worked in France's Foreign Affairs department, inexplicably disappeared six years ago. Shortly thereafter, Chopin is summoned by Seck, "a midnight blue-clad sexagenarian with very white teeth," and informed that he has been chosen to trail an official named Vital Veber as the latter relaxes at a resort near Paris. General secretary Veber is traveling with his cryptanalyst, a massive collection of files and two cartoonishly muscle-bound bodyguards, Perla and Rodion. With the help of Seck and a painter at the spa who incorporates clues into his artwork, Chopin must follow Veber's every move, though, as Seck notes, the spy is "mainly there as window dressing." Who's after whom in this desultory case? And why is Suzy Clair also at the resort, chatting up Veber? Chopin and Suzy share a brief, passionate embrace-and then Chopin promptly finds himself kidnapped. Echenoz amuses and confuses as main characters and bit players appear in unexpected places and behave in unforeseen fashions. Flashes of wit abound, but this novel may feel too slight to satisfy. (Apr. 15) FYI: In April, New Press will publish Piano, another Echenoz novel translated by Polizzotti (see Forecasts, Mar. 22). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564783349
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
04/28/2004
Series:
French Literature Series
Pages:
135
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 7.92(h) x 0.42(d)

Meet the Author

Jean Echenoz is the author of four other novels: "Le Meridien de Greenwich," "Lac" (winner of the European Literature Prize), and "Nous trois," "Cherokee" is also available as a Bison Book. Mr. Echenoz lives in Paris. Mark Polizzotti, a veteran translator of Andre Breton and Rene Daumal as well as Jean Echenoz, is the author of "Revolution of the Mind, forthcoming,"

Mark Polizzotti is the translator of more than thirty books from the French. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The Nation. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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