Customer Reviews


4 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece for our times
Philippe Claudel is a man of many talents. Not only did he write 14 novels in french (where his two translated novels, here in english, 'grey souls' and 'the brodeck's report' won prizes) but he also made an excellent film in 2008 with Kristin Scott Thomas 'I've loved you so long'. Now this newly translated novel, for me, tops everything else. It is simply a little...
Published on 7 Jan. 2013 by Ann Fairweather

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kafka redux
I should preface this by saying that I'm a huge Claudel fan. His 'Brodeck's Report is a masterpiece and 'Monsieur Linh and His Child' displays breathtaking narrative power. It's because Claudel has produced such gems that I was eager to devour The Investigation. But I was underwhelmed.

The fable-like story revolves around an un-named Investigator who is...
Published on 14 Jan. 2013 by Christopher Twain


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece for our times, 7 Jan. 2013
By 
Ann Fairweather (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Investigation (Hardcover)
Philippe Claudel is a man of many talents. Not only did he write 14 novels in french (where his two translated novels, here in english, 'grey souls' and 'the brodeck's report' won prizes) but he also made an excellent film in 2008 with Kristin Scott Thomas 'I've loved you so long'. Now this newly translated novel, for me, tops everything else. It is simply a little masterpiece, 'little' meaning that it is quite short, but not in anyway small. The first thing that strikes the reader, is that it is a very Kafkaesque atmosphere and fable. An unamed little man arrives at a station in a rather surreal Town, expecting to be picked-up by someone from 'The Firm' where he is due to conduct an investigation into a serie of recent suicides. No one ever arrives and after waiting in a bar, he decides to reach the Firm on foot. It is late at night, snowing, the Town is deserted and his suitcase breaks open...And so starts 'the Investigator' long nightmarish journey into trying to do his job while all kinds of bizarre, grotesque, even cruel, happenings prevent him to do so. It is an absolutely compelling, hypnotic, captivating read, as you find yourself hooked by what is happening to this poor 'Investigator'. No one has any other name than their function. And so there is an ambiguous Policeman, a difficult Hotel-keeper, a seemingly helping Psychologist...The whole tale is pure delight -and horror- till the mind-blowing ending. Works of these kind can be called 'metaphysical' I guess, as they take you into deep pondering about our situation here, lost as we are on this planet. It is a timeless, great, wonderful, powerful book on a par with Kafaka's Trial, just as brilliant and the modern equivalent of what Kafka did then. But forget the comparison, and simply enjoy an unparalled modern twist on our world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Shadow of the Castle..., 11 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Investigation (Hardcover)
'The Investigation' is a smooth read, an intriguing story about a man who visits an unfamiliar town to investigate a series of suicides at the Firm. However, he soon gets bogged down trying to sort out hotel rooms, food and crossing the road, leaving him with little energy to tackle the task at hand. He encounters a host of proplr, some helpful, some not so, and his visit becomes more surreal with every encounter. Having struggled to get into the Firm, he now wonders whether he'll ever get out...

This was my first Claudel, and I enjoyed it, but (like most readers) there is a but...

...for anyone who has read Kafka's 'The Castle', the first half of the novel will seem uncomfortably close to the Czech writer's work. Intentional? Of course. Even so, it does affect your enjoyment a little. The second half, when Claudel moves away from the Kafka homage a little, makes for better reading.

For a more in-depth review, please vist my blog, Tony's Reading List :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kafka redux, 14 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Investigation (Kindle Edition)
I should preface this by saying that I'm a huge Claudel fan. His 'Brodeck's Report is a masterpiece and 'Monsieur Linh and His Child' displays breathtaking narrative power. It's because Claudel has produced such gems that I was eager to devour The Investigation. But I was underwhelmed.

The fable-like story revolves around an un-named Investigator who is dispatched to a foreign city to investigate a spate of suicides. He arrives by train and is at once catapulted into a nightmarish urban environment which tortures the protagonist at every step. Line by line, the writer strips his hero of all the props of humanity. He is rebuffed and humiliated by every thing and person he comes into contact with, and his faculties of logic and social conditioning are rendered useless by an indifferent, hostile universe. Eventually The Investigator's mind fractures as his raison d'être vanishes like a puff of cigarette smoke.

Sounds bleak? It is. Unremittingly. The small amount of black humour that glitters in certain sentences soon evaporates as one becomes worn down, like the Investigator, by a world lacking in humanity. Human relationships, Claudel clearly believes, are determined by environment, and the city the Investigator is cast adrift in, is one of rules, regulations, byzantine bureaucracy, machines and pointless processes. In such a machine human beings are ground up mercilessly and spat out like chaff.

I have two major beefs with all this. One: Kafka did it all a 100 years ago. And better. Whilst The Investigation says important things about he modern world, urban environments, alienation and humanity, it does nothing - technically speaking - that 'The Trail' or 'The Castle' don't achieve with subtler satire. Two: The Existentialist Novel, the likes of which Kafka, Satre and Camus filed to a sharp philosophical point in the first half of the twentieth century, were products of a particular historical moment. The Investigation, therefore, feels like that weird anomaly - a modernist novel in a post-modern age. Why does a novel published in 2012 feel like Fritz Lang's metropolis or have a whiff of Bulgakov's Moscow?

It strikes me that Claudel the novelist admirably strains to write stories Claudel the film-maker could not adapt. Great! Too often modern fiction is influenced by cinematic narrative devices. By this criterion, however, Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' maps very similar territory to Claudel's novel. And arguably to greater effect.

In short, Claudel's latest feels far less original, to me, than his other allegorical novels. To its credit: it feels like a Kafka novel. To is detriment: it feels like a Kafka novel. If you want a more shockingly contemporary dispatch from the existential front line, you'd do better to look towards Claudel's fellow countryman, Michel Houellebecq.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Investigation (Hardcover)
A really good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Investigation
The Investigation by Philippe Claudel (Hardcover - 3 Jan. 2013)
£13.78
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews