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The Polyglot Lovers Reviews

The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff, Saskia Vogel

The Polyglot Lovers

Lina Wolff, Saskia Vogel

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: And Other Stories
Publisher: And Other Stories
Publication date: 24 Apr 2019
ISBN: 9781911508441

Ferocious and irreverent, this multiple prize-winning novel burns down the pretensions of a pompous literary establishment and takes no prisoners.

4 stars out of 5
5 Jun 2019

"The hoary concept of the male genius is under fire in a rollicking satire of sex, literature and desperation"

Wolff’s writing is pared down and laconic; Saskia Vogel’s translation is excellent and perfectly conveys the haut-cynicism of the original. One final irony is that Max, genius/pig depending on your perspective, is a character in a novel by Lina Wolff, and so is the insane reviewer Ruben, and so, in the end, is a fictional version of Houellebecq. They are all trapped in Wolff’s merciless novel, and are ritually tormented until she has had enough. The result of all this cleverness and torment is a highly enjoyable absurdist comedy about love and desperation, and male geniuses who are feted, and female geniuses who are ignored – and how despite this invidious state of affairs, we might at least agree that book reviewers are the worst people of all. That is, apart from novelists.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
18 May 2019

"Everyone behaves badly in this pitiless tale of misogyny,vengeance and a doomed manuscript"

Wolff sends up artistic pretensions, male ego and literary reputation — Michel Houellebecq is a target for some fine malicious insults. But the novel is knowingly concerned with writing itself, and its author has some heartless fun with the written word: on page 54, the manuscript pages ‘look as though they’d been out in the rain and a cup of coffee had spilled across them’. On page 232 we discover why. No spoilers, but if this were your manuscript you would not be happy.