A slightly grandiose academic takes a sabbatical in Berlin to compile his research into a book about Titian. He has nothing to do but sit down and write. However, despite his scorn for popular culture and the best intentions to give up the addictive medium altogether, an extended (and often self-congratulatory) rationalization leads to very little writing, but quite a lot of television.
Don’t laugh; it could happen to you.
This is one of my favorite reads in the past five years. I snickered and chortled the whole way through. I thought it was rollicking and Chaplinesque. Many of my friends did not find it quite as funny, but I felt Toussaint accurately described the tiny traps of vanity that often befall people who “know” things. People such as myself! Probably not a flattering thing to admit…
Many thanks to the Dalkey Archive Press who brought this novel back into print in the United States.
- Jean Philippe Toussaint, A Deceptive Lightness of Being, from France Magazine
- Television collected reviews and criticism from google books