BookDragon Books for the Multi-Culti Reader

The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tull, translated by Sam Taylor [in Library Journal]

Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil on BookDragon via Library JournalSam, Samir, and Nina met in law school in Paris. Sam and Nina were lovers. While Sam was briefly away, Samir shared Nina’s bed, after which Sam attempted suicide and won Nina back.

Fast-forward almost two decades: Sam and Nina are poor and desperate but still together in Paris; Samir is a rich, powerful, and newsworthy Manhattan attorney specializing in women’s rights – utterly ironic as his marriage vows can’t keep even underage teens out of his clutches. Gone is Samir’s Tunisian Arab heritage; he’s not only using Sam’s shortened name, he’s also appropriated Sam’s Jewish past. When the threesome meet again, it sets in motion another “age of reinvention.”

A bestselling finalist for the prestigious 2015 Prix Goncourt, this work arrives Stateside with something lost in translation: the triumvirate devolves from unlikable to unbelievable, further marred by tedious writing (cloying cleverness, constant footnotes). More vexing is listening to 12 hours of such fodder narrated with inappropriate direction: the writing states early that Samir’s English is “tinged with an aristocratic accent,” yet the usually reliable George Newbern affects unrecognizable tones; Sam and Nina speak to each other in Inspector Clouseau-esque faux pronunciation.

Verdict: For a better Franco import, consider Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation.

Review: “Audio,” Library Journal, March 1, 2016

Published: 2015 (United States)