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The narrator is a middle-class, ish woman with a very ordered life, living with her husband in a Paris apartment building. She has a platonic friendship with one of the upstairs neighbours. She uncharacteristically decides to throw a small party, inviting friends, people from work, the upstairs neighbour and his wife.

As the dust jacket describes, "And then, quite suddenly, finds herself embarked with him on an adventure that is one part vaudeville and A very slender novel, a mere pages. As the dust jacket describes, "And then, quite suddenly, finds herself embarked with him on an adventure that is one part vaudeville and one part high tragedy. The narrator's motives for becoming involved, risking everything she is and has, remain impenetrable.

Quietly unsettling.


I picked this book up because the author is also a playwright, two of whose plays I have seen in memorable productions. One, The God of Carnage, I saw on Broadway, with James Gandolfini and Marcia Harden as one couple, and Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis as the other, who meet to discuss a playground incident between their two sons--and the veneer of civilization is stripped away as all hell breaks loose.

Absolutely brilliant. This novel, while the tone is completely different, treads some of that same ground. And I can see how she comes from a theatrical background: the dramaturgy of the character is beyond comparison. The inception-like paradox of Babylon is that you read it while rubbernecking as Elisabeth rubbernecks, and morbid curiosity multiplies.

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, for review consideration. French translated novel that was a quick read, this book explores how quickly a life can unravel. Here, a middle-aged French woman relates how her platonic male friend living in her apartment building attends a spring party she and her husband host one evening and a few hours later he knocks on their door with some very disturbing news no spoilers.

Things go downhill from there as she narrates her attempts to help him extricate himself from a sticky situation fraught with ethical implications. Despite the potential setup, it was less than engaging I found the stream of consciousness difficult to get into but the pace quickened midway through the book. The narrator maintains an even, monotone, presence even as the tragedy occurs. The author is a master of giving the reader some information while holding back enough to make the characters more intriguing and real.

This book needs patience but totally deserves it. Reminds me of Veronique Bizot. A favorite bit: "'All under control' has the virtue of closing the chapter that's barely opened. The line says nothing about reality, nor even about the speaker's state of mind. It's a rather practical kind of existential readiness - a standing to attention.

And fu This book needs patience but totally deserves it. And funny too. Aug 10, Giulia rated it it was ok. I had seen the movie "carnage", adapted from her book and really appreciated her incisiveness and sharp social descriptions. This story is very forgettable, does not really leave a strong and lasting imprint. You don't really get attached to the characters, some parts seem a bit far-fetched This novel recounts a tale of bourgeois party with an expected ending. The narrator meanders through time as she muses on photography, framing, memory and place.

The staccato page breaks and sequitur paragraphs evoke the feeling of a cliffhanger every few pages. It is one of those books that makes me wish I have been a literature major. What a weird little book.

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The way someone would react to the motivating action of the book seems pretty straightforward, but then you meet Elisabeth who acts so completely the opposite of how a rational person would act for what appears to be no real motive. She lets herself be carried along by her decisions. Interesting read. Reza takes the tradition of French existentialist and miserabilist literature think Sartre, Emmanuel Bove, or Simenon's roman dures and makes it true to life and, at times, painfully funny.

This gripping novel even has subtle echoes of Camus' The Stranger. Oct 18, MickPro rated it really liked it Shelves: A somewhat stream-of-consciousness stroy of and by a woman recounting her present days, reflections of how she came to today and a catastrophic occurrence after a party that she hosts. It's writing as visual history and superb. Dec 23, Mary Conway rated it it was ok Shelves: read-this-year. A short novel as much as about the events as about facing middle age - very moving in a very quiet way.

Very French; almost existential; does not explain the characters' motivations, but is one of the most interesting books I have read this year. Wonderful short novel, with a great story and wonderful interior dialog by the narrator. Oct 31, Anita rated it really liked it. Curious little novel that had unexpected dimensions.

Jan 29, Ray Hubley rated it really liked it.

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Bristling with mischief and intelligence, provocative and deeply felt, this like all of Reza's work is the product of a modern day Bunuel. A woman hosts a dinner party with a diverse set of guests, including a man who she has befriended from an upstairs apartment, along with his wife. Alcohol is flowing and during the course of the party, the man tells some entertaining stories at the expense of his exotic wife. After hours the neighbor returns and announces to the woman that he has killed his wife following a squabble with her.

Is she really dead? If so, how dispose of the body? Entertaining with good character development. Mar 27, Pascale rated it liked it. A very recognizable Reza plot where an apparently trivial conflict soon escalates to monumental proportions. However, if the dialogue is less sparkling than in "God of Carnage", the story has more emotional heft.

Elizabeth, a happily married scientist in her early 60s, decides to throw a Spring party, and apart from her usual set of colleagues and friends, invites their neighbors Jean-Lino and Lydie, who do not quite belong to the same milieu.

Laurence (Lorette) Nobécourt

Jean-Lino is an appliances salesman and Lydie some A very recognizable Reza plot where an apparently trivial conflict soon escalates to monumental proportions. Jean-Lino is an appliances salesman and Lydie some kind of therapist with a hobby as a jazz singer. Yet a real friendship has blossomed between Elizabeth and Jean-Lino. Among the ups and downs at the party, there's a sticky moment when Jean-Lino makes fun of his wife for being obsessed with the welfare of chickens before they are slaughtered. A few hours later, back in their apartment, they have a bitter row and Jean-Lino strangles Lydie.

His first reaction is to seek help from Elizabeth and Pierre, but Pierre wants nothing to do with this mess and goes back to bed. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is foolish enough to try and help Jean-Lino to dispose of the body. They give it up when a young neighbor catches them dragging a suspiciously heavy suitcase. The book ends with the reconstitution of the crime. Jean-Lino, who has no children of his own, would do anything to win the little boy's love, and his clumsy, sometimes disloyal attempts to curry favor with him turn out to have raised Lydie's heckles.

I read this book at one sitting but in spite of Reza's fluid, vernacular style, I wouldn't dismiss this as a light read. Feb 19, Kirsten rated it liked it. Jan 11, Carol Irvin marked it as abandoned-books. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed. About Yasmina Reza. Yasmina Reza. Since then it has been produced world-wide and translated into 20 languages. In September , her first novel, Hammerklavier , was published. Books by Yasmina Reza.

Trivia About Babylone. No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Babylone. Somebody loving you provides a certificate of existence. When a person feels alone, he can't exist without some small social fable. With the conversation finished, I think, You're really a good person, you're concerned for others. Two seconds later I tell myself, It's disgusting, this self-satisfaction over such an elementary deed.

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