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A Salon de Fleurus Salon Thursday October 11th 2012 / MoMA

The Author Laurent Binet was born in Paris, France, in 1972. He is the author of La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B., a memoir of his experience teaching in secondary schools in Paris. In March 2010, his debut novel, HHhH, won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. Laurent Binet is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature.

Bibliography HHhH : A Novel, translated from French by Sam Taylor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B. [The Professional Life of Laurent B.] (Little Big Man, 2004) Forces et faiblesses de nos muqueuses [Strengths ans Weaknesses of our Mucus] (Le Manuscrit, 2000)

HHhH : A Novel, translated from French by Sam Taylor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) HHhH: “Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich”, or “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”. The most dangerous man in Hitler’s cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich was known as the “Butcher of Prague.” He was feared by all and loathed by most. With his cold Aryan features and implacable cruelty, Heydrich seemed indestructible—until two men, a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service, killed him in broad daylight on a bustling street in Prague, and thus changed the course of History. Who were these men, arguably two of the most discreet heroes of the twentieth century? In Laurent Binet’s captivating debut novel, we follow Jozef Gabćik and Jan Kubiš from their dramatic escape of Nazioccupied Czechoslovakia to England; from their recruitment to their harrowing parachute drop into a war zone, from their stealth attack on Heydrich’s car to their own brutal death in the basement of a Prague church. A seemingly effortlessly blend of historical truth, personal memory, and Laurent Binet’s remarkable imagination, HHhH—an international bestseller and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman—is a work at once thrilling and intellectually engrossing, a fastpaced novel of the Second World War that is also a profound meditation on the nature of writing and the debt we owe to history.


© Grasset

Laurent Binet France

“Every now and then a piece of work comes along that undermines the assumptions upon which all previous works have been built . . . These pieces of art complicate the genre for everyone that follows. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius did it for the memoir, Reservoir Dogs for action films, and now HHhH does it for the historical novel. Laurent Binet’s brilliantly translated debut deconstructs the process of fiction writing in the face of the brute reality of facts . . . Binet’s [HHhH] resets the path of the historical novel. He has a bright, bright future.” David Annand, The Telegraph “HHhH triumphs precisely because it not only delicately, and sometimes grippingly, depicts a major historical moment, but because it manages to depict the unique challenges of 21st-century remembrance.” Michael Lapointe, The Globe and Mail

“A literary tour de force . . . [HHhH] is a gripping novel that brings us closer to history as it really happened.” Alan Riding, The New York Times Book Review “Ingenious and inventive . . . HHhH [is a] knockout blow in the boxing match of genre-defying literature. Binet steps between styles with ease . . . [and] has written a tale of Heydrich to defy most academic study. Moreover, Binet has managed to engage. His description is playful and joyous, at times even wrongfully celebratory, but always, always surprisingly on form. As a deserving winner of the Prix Goncourt, HHhH is a fantastic read. As a dynamic assault on the genres of contemporary writing, HHhH must join that coterie of celebrated titles: it is unique.” Charles J. Haynes, California Literary Review

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