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Chopin's Move

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  95 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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 counterdecei ...more
Paperback, 135 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published January 1st 1989)
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Eddie Watkins
Oct 08, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it liked it
Recommends it for: smart but light hearted espionage buffs
Recommended to Eddie by: Walter, indirectly
Shelves: french-fiction
fun fun

 joyous machinic


spyballs on bright objects
 musical trails


 Queneauish


 brilliantly sunlit


airily dense



OR, a pointless delight - like an intricate navel-gazing machine (100 eyes, 100 belly buttons) within a globe of glass with three dozen jointed arms rapidly manipulating objects in a world of self-contained objects through a series of plottings and counter-plottings with the detailed grace of slender fingers tickling the ivories, the brilliant music vanishing as soon as the key is struck, vi
...more
Zuberino
Just when you think you've seen it all, along comes a writer like Jean Echenoz with such a dazzling array of tricks that by the time you've come to the end of this slim book, you are shaking your head in wonder, marveling at the truly infinite possibilities of language. For the palate of the jaded reader, I can think of no better cleanser, for Echenoz is that rarest of birds, a writer who is deserving of the tag 'sui generis'. The closest parallel I can think of is Simenon - the placid Parisian ...more
julieta
Mar 15, 2008 julieta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, europa
Jean Echenoz es uno de mis escritores favoritos, tiene su propio mundo, y tiene un ritmo unico en su manera de escribir. Entrar en una historia de echenoz es dejar la realidad a un lado, y entrar a conocer su sutileza, sentido del humor y sus personajes, es un placer. Este libro parece una parodia de las novelas policiacas, pero a la vez no tiene nada que ver con una novela policiaca. Combina el mundo del espionaje, una historia de amor frustrado, personajes de los cuales te enamoras y algo de a ...more
Romain X.
Oct 23, 2015 Romain X. rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
Lac quel titre étrange. C’est paradoxalement un titre court — 3 lettres et pas de sous-titre, on peut difficilement faire mieux — et très énigmatique, il ne nous donne aucune indication sur le contenu du livre. C’est en fait un titre très echenozien (Nous trois, Un an, Au piano, Ravel, Courir, Des éclairs) ou plus généralement emblématique des Éditions de Minuit. Il ressemble à sa prose, raffinée et distillée pour obtenir un texte ciselé et épuré. Il faut lire lentement, savourer chaque phrase p ...more
Alejandro Olaguer
Es un libro prolijo, elegante y bien escrito, como todo lo de Echenoz, pero salvo por eso no me gustó mucho. Por momentos es lento, pretencioso y, sobre todo, aburrido. Pretende ser una especie de parodia de un policial inglés o de una película de espías tipo James Bond, pero termina siendo apenas un mal chiste. Supongo que la pésima traducción de Anagrama (que se nota permanentemente) tampoco ayuda mucho. Es un libro premiado, de un autor de culto y blablabla, pero personalmente no lo recomiend ...more
Steve
Mar 31, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, translations
Like everything I've read by Echenoz so far, this novel is a strange delight: it's a spy novel that strips away the "point" of a spy novel -- the secrets, the surprises, the big reveal -- and delivers only the structure and shape of the genre, in exuberant language and crisp detail. There are intrigues, and shadowy figures (like the one-legged courier), and behind-the-scenes machinations, but none of that is the point. Or maybe the fact that it isn't the point is the point... one or the other, p ...more
David
Apr 11, 2008 David rated it liked it
Here's a delightful writer who, like James Sallis, Jerome Charyn, or Paul Auster, appropriates genre conventions in wildly original, amusing ways. It would seem we're in a spy novel. A one-legged agent is sent to surveille entomologist Franck Chopin, who in turn is set on the trail of government official Vital Veber and his entourage as they vacation in a resort hotel, using ingenious gadgets to track their every move. Betrayals and unsuspected alliances surface, plots reverse themselves, romanc ...more
Maxime
Dec 30, 2014 Maxime rated it it was ok
Je découvre Echenoz avec ce titre ("Lac" en français). La version anglaise ne m'a pas laissé une excellente impression. Les phrases ne semblaient pas naturelles, sa prose est peut être difficile à traduire.
Jon
Mar 06, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
An interesting take on the spy novel, this book (mostly) follows part-time amateur agent Chopin. As a small cog in a big machine, Chopin (and the reader) never get to see the big picture and are left with a series of strange orders and events without the context to give them meaning. A strange and enjoyable book that contrasts pleasurably with the typical super-spy novel where everything is of Earth-shattering importance.
Sean Masterson
Feb 06, 2012 Sean Masterson rated it it was amazing
A fantastic send up of the espionage novel with a bit of William Burroughs thrown in for good measure. Some of the plotting, such that it is, reminded me of John Hawkes' Lime Twig. Combined with Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Chopin's Move is an interesting look at what's going on in the French-speaking part of the literary world.
Thomas
Aug 02, 2011 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Une manière de roman d'espionnage, pas forcément recommandable aux amateurs du genre, à moins qu'ils soient de ceux que Jean Echenoz fait rire par l'incongruité d'une comparaison ou la place d'une ponctuation. Avec un détachement très classieux.
Shemsi
Oct 23, 2009 Shemsi rated it did not like it
Shelves: humor, adventure
I don't know why I picked this up. It's a spoof of a spy novel. I'm not crazy about spy novels and I don't know why I thought this would be of any interest to me. I didn't get past page 5.
Tuck
Jan 31, 2011 Tuck rated it it was ok
Shelves: dalkey-archive
this is supposed to be a funny novel i think, but wasn't too me. the other reviewers on goodreads liked it better than me. i guess spycraft IS kinda funny though.
Martin
Oct 23, 2013 Martin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring, badly written. A spy story that has no surprises and combines all possible cliches in this kind of story.
Kris McCracken
Aug 09, 2013 Kris McCracken rated it it was ok
Very French. I didn't like it much. F.
Kendra
Feb 17, 2008 Kendra rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kendra by: Nathan
Totally odd and oddly compelling.
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195045
Born December 26 (some sources say 23), 1947, in Orange, France; son of Marc (a psychiatrist) and Annie (an engraver) Echenoz; children: Jerome Arthur. Education: Attended Université d'Aix en Provence and Université de Paris (Sorbonne).
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“The telephone could ring twice, Vito knew he was not going to pick it up. He would put on his leg before his trousers as he did every day on first getting up - at all events nothing good would ever again come by phone, and any way, no matter what, his leg came first.” 0 likes
“..he went to the kitchen to get a banana; after each mouthful he pulled back a fraction the four or five strips of striped skin, faded petals, which covered his fist as it clenched the base of the fruit; carefully he detached the friable, cardboard-flavoured filaments that run down its surface like meridian lines, in a word peeling his banana the way the anthropoid will forever peel his. He threw one of the filaments into the fly cage..” 0 likes
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