Hervé Le Tellier in conversation with Daniel Levin Becker
discussing his new book
The Anomaly: A Novel
published by The Other Press
NAMED A MOST-ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR BY CRIMEREADS
Winner of the Goncourt Prize and now an international phenomenon, this dizzying, whip-smart novel blends crime, fantasy, sci-fi, and thriller as it plumbs the mysteries surrounding a Paris-New York flight.
Who would we be if we had made different choices? Told that secret, left that relationship, written that book? We all wonder—the passengers of Air France 006 will find out.
In their own way, they were all living double lives when they boarded the plane:
Blake, a respectable family man who works as a contract killer. Slimboy, a Nigerian pop star who uses his womanizing image to hide that he’s gay. Joanna, a Black American lawyer pressured to play the good old boys’ game to succeed with her Big Pharma client. Victor Miesel, a critically acclaimed yet largely obscure writer suddenly on the precipice of global fame. About to start their descent to JFK, they hit a shockingly violent patch of turbulence, emerging on the other side to a reality both perfectly familiar and utterly strange. As it charts the fallout of this logic-defying event, The Anomaly takes us on a journey from Lagos and Mumbai to the White House and a top-secret hangar.
In Hervé Le Tellier’s most ambitious work yet, high literature follows the lead of a bingeable Netflix series, drawing on the best of genre fiction from “chick lit” to mystery, while also playfully critiquing their hallmarks. An ingenious, timely variation on the doppelgänger theme, it taps into the parts of ourselves that elude us most.
Hervé Le Tellier is a writer, journalist, mathematician, food critic, and teacher. He has been a member of the Oulipo group since 1992 and one of the “papous” of the famous France Culture radio show. He has published fifteen books of stories, essays, and novels, including Enough About Love (Other Press, 2011), The Sextine Chapel (Dalkey Archive Press, 2011), and A Thousand Pearls (Dalkey Archive Press, 2011).
Daniel Levin Becker is an American critic, translator, and editor, and the youngest member of the Oulipo literary collective. He is the author of Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature (Harvard UP, 2012) and the translator of, among others, Georges Perec’s La Boutique Obscure (Melville House, 2013) and Eduardo Berti’s An Ideal Presence (Fern Books, 2021), and co-translator of Frédéric Forte’s Minute-Operas (Burning Deck, 2015) and All That Is Evident Is Suspect: Readings from the Oulipo 1963–2018 (McSweeney’s, 2018). City Lights is publishing his forthcoming book What’s Good: Notes on Rap and Language. He is a contributing editor to The Believer, senior editor at McSweeney’s Publishing, and English editor for the French nonfiction publisher Odile Jacob. He lives in Paris.
Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation