Steve's Reviews > Chopin's Move

Chopin's Move by Jean Echenoz
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Mar 28, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: novels, translations
Read from March 28 to 31, 2012

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, perhaps. Reading Chopin's Move is a bit like watching a magic show, in that you know it's all sleight of hand with little or nothing of any firmness behind it, but done so well you're more than willing to go along with the illusion as long as it lasts. The sheer energy of the performance is the thing, but that, too, raises questions about how much more interesting our own lives become when we fill them with codes and intrigues -- even meaningless ones.
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