The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier review – comedy, theology and embarrassment

Sold: July 17th 2019

$95, print edition (288 pp)

The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier

Existence is a stage-managed event from which you can make impact. And, if you want to keep your appearance on stage special, you can make sure a stage invasion takes place.

If, however, you’re Hervé Le Tellier, you’re a French author and performance artist. You talk about this stage-managed and stage-ambushed genre with your new novel The Anomaly: No Dialogue With The Dead. Lé Tellier is at the bottom of the pyramid performing bottom-scrap-heap satire about life’s really good and really bad accidents.

“I am angry at myself for not realizing that happenstance is a play with performers, for where you hope to be is shaped by the people you don’t know,” Hervé Le Tellier explains, “and the people you do.” The problem with this line of thought, however, is that it’s untrue. The Anomaly has the necessary and boring elements to not only survive the stage of industry, but even to make it front-page news. In the real world, fame and fortune require a brand of religion that extols things other than religious teaching. Meaning that Hervé Le Tellier is arguably the most pious and bookish of the fictional underground cosplayers.

Plebes, counterfeit masters, and valetés will make The Anomaly must-read for anyone who’s ever dealt with the “why this time, why not you?” attitude and “I’ll show you a million ways you’re wrong!” comments that takes place in 99% of western culture. I expect The Anomaly to be as fruitful as the cultish asceticism written into the thinking of the book’s conclusion, “In order to live, we must be changed by the world, or resigned to living within it.”

I recommend that anyone hoping to make some long-term effect on the world read this book in addition to the options of going to church or getting psychically level-headed.

“It’s not the characters, their essence, that brought them to the cultural stage,” Hervé Le Tellier explains, “or even the stories they tell. The characters themselves produced what they have become. The novel is a mixture of the stories we choose to tell to give shape to our personalities.”

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