Jude Cook

A Tale of Two Sams

The Age of Reinvention

By Karine Tuil (Translated by Sam Taylor)

Scribner 416pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The figure of the plucky, upwardly mobile arriviste, as embodied by Samir Tahar in Karine Tuil’s turbo-charged, politically engaged new novel, is a familiar one in 19th-century French literature. From Stendhal’s Julien Sorel to Balzac’s Lucien Chardon and Maupassant’s Georges Duroy, the man living on his wits and looks while searching for social leverage is everywhere. These antiheroes were perhaps emblematic of French Revolutionary truculence: two fingers perpetually held up at an ancien régime of editors and critics. So it is with Samir, though his milieu is not the 1830s literary scene of Illusions perdues but the post-9/11 cultural kaleidoscope of French society. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • To press, to press, to grind out a magazine!,
    • Jacob Cockcroft investigates 'the cults' that Uber and Airbnb have created. ,
    • Susanna Forrest reviews Raulff's 'epic enterprise' on man's faltering relationship with the horse. ,
    • Curses! We're in demand ,
    • RT : Can't believe my beautiful bundle of @Lit_Review|s I've seen grow from scratch will soon become five! Time flies &… ,
    • Weekend read 2: Alan Judd reviews 'M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster' by ,
    • If you're at @britishacademy's Literature Week, look out a for a free copy of the magazine, too.,