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The 7th Function of Language
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2018 International Longlist > The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet

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message 1: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
This is a discussion thread for The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet.


message 2: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert | 363 comments I LOVED the idea behind this and I got off on a strong start but then there were too many similarities to Eco's ,who is also a semiologist, work and I DNF'd it in the last fifty pages or so.

It is great primer for someone who has not read Eco and is interested in Semiotics ( the study and interpretations signs and symbols in language and text)


Meike (meikereads) I am so excited to read this, I simply loved Binet's HHhH which won the Prix Goncourt! There is so much great literature coming out of France at the moment, and I am more than happy that my guess that we will see two entries from France on this year's MBI list proved to be correct!


message 4: by Bartleby (new) - added it

Bartleby (bartlebyscrivener) I've been meaning to read this one for quite a while, it got a translation here in Brazil sooner than in English (if I'm not mistaken) but I still haven't found some time for it... This thing got me excited, and I hope to read at least the 5 books that I was most intrigued by soon (this one, and Tokarczuk's and Cercas's and Krasznahorkai's and Kang's. I'll be reading what people say about the other books in these threads and maybe I add some other ones to the to-read list :)


Meike (meikereads) Gabriel wrote: "I've been meaning to read this one for quite a while, it got a translation here in Brazil sooner than in English (if I'm not mistaken) but I still haven't found some time for it... This thing got m..."

I wonder whether the meaning changes with the translation - this is about Barthes, after all! Reading two versions would be a worthwhile endeavor in this case, I guess...


message 6: by Bartleby (new) - added it

Bartleby (bartlebyscrivener) Hum, interesting... I'll probably at least make some comparisons with some parts. As I said I haven't read it yet, but I hated that here they opted for a different title, a very clichéd one (to me, at least - maybe a more appealing one): it became "Who Killed Roland Barthes?" Urgh...


message 7: by Britta (new) - added it

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I thought HHhH was brilliant and so I was looking forward to this but unfortunately, it was not for me. I didn't 'get' the humor, obviously...


Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Britta - you don't seem very sold on the MBI list this year!

Having just started it today, it does seem to tread a fine line between who the joke is on - those who are in to semiology etc or those who aren't clever enough to get the joke. And a line it quite happily acknowledges. E.g. this is the Detective (who doesn't get it) reading a book that takes the mickey out of Barthes:

This make him laugh a little, but he hates what he instinctively perceives as a principle of verbal intimidation. Of course, he knows that this kind of book is not aimed at him, that it’s a book for intellectuals, for those smart-arsed parasites to have a good snigger amongst themselves. Mocking themselves: the last laugh.


message 9: by Britta (last edited Mar 15, 2018 09:49AM) (new) - added it

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Britta - you don't seem very sold on the MBI list this year!

Having just started it today, it does seem to tread a fine line between who the joke is on - those who are in to semiology etc or those..."


I had already read 6 of the books (of which I dnf'd two after about half) before the Longlist was announced, and yes, I have to say I would have put none of them on the list :-). But who knows maybe I will be blown away by the rest...


message 10: by Wen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wen (wensz) I’m gonna start off with this one cuz I found the audiobook. No idea what semiology is: kinda like Dan Brown?


message 11: by Paula (new)

Paula | 131 comments Wen wrote: "I’m gonna start off with this one cuz I found the audiobook. No idea what semiology is: kinda like Dan Brown?"

for a simple definition of semiotics, see Robert's comment #2 above. Happy reading.


Meike (meikereads) Wen wrote: "I’m gonna start off with this one cuz I found the audiobook. No idea what semiology is: kinda like Dan Brown?"

No, semiotics is a serious scientific theory that is studied, taught and used in research at universities all over the world (unlike Dan Brown ;-)). You can get an idea by checking out the Wikipedia page for "Semiotics", "Ferdinand de Saussure", "Roland Barthes" - and "Jacques Derrida" certainly helps as well.


message 13: by Paul (last edited Mar 23, 2018 01:46AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) But the book does indeed decide to explain that theory in a hokey thriller than even Dan Brown would be ashamed of.


message 14: by Wen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wen (wensz) I'm on chapter 12/104. it's made me chuckle. Per Robert semiology ="the study and interpretations signs and symbols in language and text", so far the book suggested non-language signs... maybe it was hokey as Paul said. Hey Meike, i thought to just stay ignorant for now, and wiki it after i finish--might be more fun this way :)


Meike (meikereads) Wen wrote: "I'm on chapter 12/104. it's made me chuckle. Per Robert semiology ="the study and interpretations signs and symbols in language and text", so far the book suggested non-language signs... maybe it w..."

Wen, if you get the jokes, you're clearly not all too ignorant! :-) Enjoy the book!!


message 16: by Wen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wen (wensz) Finished it! Just so-so for me. Have to say audiobook was a terrible idea, but googling semiology after reading the book was not so bad. My brief review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Will add both HHHH and The Name Of the Rose.


message 17: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Interesting that Tzvetan Todorov, a semilogist whose theory of "the fantastic" in literature I referred to in my review of last years Fever Dream, appears both in this book and The Impostor.

In the Impostor he is quoted for his commentary on Primo Levi"s theories on holocaust literature - whether to explain runs the risk of justifying.

Here he comes in because he is Bulgarian so a good excuse to have some poisoned umbrella murderers.

Rather sums up the intellectual ambitions of the two books.


message 18: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert | 363 comments Wen Actually if you are an Eco novice then i suggest Foucault's Pendulum, which mocks the publishing industry and conspiracy theorists


message 19: by Wen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wen (wensz) Robert wrote: "Wen Actually if you are an Eco novice then i suggest Foucault's Pendulum, which mocks the publishing industry and conspiracy theorists"

Thanks Robert. This one sounds like a more current and more interesting read. Added. The Name Of The Rose was recommended to me by a friend a couple years ago and was the only Eco book I knew :)


Meike (meikereads) Wen wrote: "Finished it! Just so-so for me. Have to say audiobook was a terrible idea, but googling semiology after reading the book was not so bad. My brief review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/..."


I really loved HHhH, and I hope you'll enjoy it too, Wen! I am really curios about the 7th Function of Language now, and I will get to it soon - it sounds like the kind of weird meta-stuff I like.


message 21: by Neil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neil | 511 comments Just finished this and very much enjoyed it. I think the "hokey thriller" and ridiculous plot are deliberate - it's very post-modern.


Meike (meikereads) Oh, now I am even more excited to read it! According to the rules of the Neil/Meike-taste-o-meter (that's science, folks!), I will most certainly like it!


message 23: by Neil (last edited Mar 28, 2018 01:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neil | 511 comments Yes! There's the Neil/Meike comparator and there's the Neil/Britta comparator. If you like it, so will I. If Britta likes it, I won't.


message 24: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) To add to your excitement Meike, it reminded me at times of Vernon Subutex!


message 25: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert | 363 comments Neil wrote: "Yes! There's the Neil/Meike comparator and there's the Neil/Britta comparator. If you like it, so will I. If Britta likes it, I won't."

Yeah but britta gives two positive reviews a year :D so the ratio of her of not liking something and us liking it is quite high.


Meike (meikereads) @Paul: Yippiehhh! :-)
@Robert: Hahaha! :-)


message 27: by Wen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wen (wensz) Look forward to your view Mieke. Curious about how accurate GR compare books percentage is for representing the comparators above:) the science..


message 28: by Doug (last edited Mar 28, 2018 06:26PM) (new) - added it

Doug | 77 comments Neil wrote: "Yes! There's the Neil/Meike comparator and there's the Neil/Britta comparator. If you like it, so will I. If Britta likes it, I won't."


Let's not forget the 'Doug 2 star Rule': If Doug gives it 2 stars, Paul, GY, and Neil will all fall all over themselves touting it the best book of the century! :-)


Meike (meikereads) Wen wrote: "Look forward to your view Mieke. Curious about how accurate GR compare books percentage is for representing the comparators above:) the science.."

Just checked: It states that Neil's and my taste are 84 % similar. GR is unable to detect though that our tastes are 100 % similar when it comes to weird/experimental postmodern stuff! :-)


message 30: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) Doug - I would argue the causality in the Doug 2 star rules works the other way :-)


Michelle (topaz6) I just started it – so far, it seems like I should have my notes on semiology at hand, just in case someone like Foucault tosses out some obscure theory!


message 32: by Wen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wen (wensz) Michelle wrote: "I just started it – so far, it seems like I should have my notes on semiology at hand, just in case someone like Foucault tosses out some obscure theory!"

Hi Michelle, I went into the book with only the definition of semiology Robert gave in his comment above. The book educated me along the way. Enjoy the book :)


message 33: by Bartleby (new) - added it

Bartleby (bartlebyscrivener) Great shortlist. Haven't read any yet (not in full, I'm on my reading of The world goes on) but I'd only change Vernon with The 7th function :p


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