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Special Envoy: A Spy Novel
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Jean Echenoz's sly and playful novels have won critical and popular acclaim in France as well as in the United States, where he has been profiled by the New Yorker and called the "most distinctive voice of his generation" by theWashington Post. With his wonderfully droll and intriguing new work Special Envoy, Echenoz turns his hand to the espionage novel which, when published in France, stormed the bestseller lists. Special Envoy begins with an old general in his dilapidated office in France's intelligence agency asking his trusted lieutenant Paul Objat for ideas about a person he wants for a particular job: someone pretty, female, and easily manipulated. Objat has someone in mind: Constance, an attractive, restless, bored woman in a failing marriage to a washed-up pop musician. She is abducted by Objat's cronies and spirited away into the bowels of France's intelligence bureaucracy where she is trained for the mission to spearhead the destabilization of Kim Jong-un's regime in North Korea. Will Constance survive her mission in Pyongyang? Will her feckless husband ever write another pop hit? Joyously strange and unpredictable, full of twists and coincidences, Special Envoy is, in the words of L'Express "a pure gem, a delight at all times, a comedy monument, a celebration of the French language."
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About the Author

Jean Echenoz won France's prestigious Prix Goncourt for I'm Gone (The New Press). He is the winner of numerous literary prizes, among them the Prix Medicis and the European Literature Jeopardy Prize. He lives in Paris. Sam Taylor is an acclaimed translator and novelist who lives in Texas. His translations include A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli (The New Press), The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf, and the award-winning HHhH by Lauren Binet.

Reviews

Praise for Special Envoy "Special Envoy is an exceedingly French spy thriller. Is Echenoz making deep points about the omnipotence of the French spy services and the ennui of the average Parisen? Or is he just amusing himself, and us? Only he can be sure." --New York Times Book Review "Satirical and sly, this latest book by Echenoz is worth a read." --Bookriot Included in The Mookse and the Gripes list of the "November 2017 Books to Read!" "This remarkable work should continue Echenoz's literary prize-winning streak. . . . [Special Envoy] belongs in the hands of literary-fiction readers who enjoy a crime element in the story." --Booklist "A shaggy tale that blends spy-novel pastiche with today's headlines. Fans of Echenoz will recognize his signature playfulness and affection for the offbeat caper." --Kirkus Reviews Praise for Jean Echenoz: "Witty, passionate, Echenoz's novels are often the opposite of realistic--playful fantasies in which characters bounce in and out of sight like acrobats on a trampoline, with plots that hopscotch wildly over time and space." --Max Byrd, New York Times Book Review "The most distinctive voice of his generation and the master magician of the contemporary French novel." --The Washington Post "Rarely has the difficult craft of storytelling been as well mastered." --Times Literary Supplement "A gentle tending to perversity links Echenoz to that other master of perverse detail, Vladimir Nabokov." --Los Angeles Times "There is an echo of Garcia Marquez in these simple yet enigmatic pages. Echenoz gives us a slim series of elegant, tightly written tales, achieving a simple kind of magic." --Kirkus Praise for Special Envoy "This remarkable work should continue Echenoz's literary prize-winning streak. . . . [Special Envoy] belongs in the hands of literary-fiction readers who enjoy a crime element in the story." --Booklist "A shaggy tale that blends spy-novel pastiche with today's headlines. Fans of Echenoz will recognize his signature playfulness and affection for the offbeat caper." --Kirkus Reviews Praise for Jean Echenoz: "Witty, passionate, Echenoz's novels are often the opposite of realistic--playful fantasies in which characters bounce in and out of sight like acrobats on a trampoline, with plots that hopscotch wildly over time and space." --Max Byrd, New York Times Book Review "The most distinctive voice of his generation and the master magician of the contemporary French novel." --The Washington Post "Rarely has the difficult craft of storytelling been as well mastered." --Times Literary Supplement "A gentle tending to perversity links Echenoz to that other master of perverse detail, Vladimir Nabokov." --Los Angeles Times "There is an echo of Garcia Marquez in these simple yet enigmatic pages. Echenoz gives us a slim series of elegant, tightly written tales, achieving a simple kind of magic." --Kirkus Praise for Special Envoy "A shaggy tale that blends spy-novel pastiche with today's headlines. Fans of Echenoz will recognize his signature playfulness and affection for the offbeat caper." --Kirkus Reviews Praise for Jean Echenoz: "Witty, passionate, Echenoz's novels are often the opposite of realistic--playful fantasies in which characters bounce in and out of sight like acrobats on a trampoline, with plots that hopscotch wildly over time and space." --Max Byrd, New York Times Book Review "The most distinctive voice of his generation and the master magician of the contemporary French novel." --The Washington Post "Rarely has the difficult craft of storytelling been as well mastered." --Times Literary Supplement "A gentle tending to perversity links Echenoz to that other master of perverse detail, Vladimir Nabokov." --Los Angeles Times "There is an echo of Garcia Marquez in these simple yet enigmatic pages. Echenoz gives us a slim series of elegant, tightly written tales, achieving a simple kind of magic." --Kirkus

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