The Anomaly: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Winner of the Prix Goncourt, this dizzying literary pause-resister ingeniously blends crime, fantasy, sci-fi, and thriller as it plumbs the mysteries surrounding a Paris-New York flight.
In June 2021, a senseless event upends the lives of hundreds of men and women, all passengers on a flight from Paris to New York. Among them: Blake, a respectable family man, though he works as a contract killer; Slimboy, a Nigerian pop star tired of living a lie; Joanna, a formidable lawyer whose flaws have caught up with her; and Victor Miesel, a critically acclaimed yet commercially unsuccessful writer who suddenly becomes a cult hit.
All of them believed they had double lives. None imagined just how true that was.
A virtuoso novel where logic confronts magic, The Anomaly explores the part of ourselves that eludes us. This witty variation on the doppelgänger theme, which takes us on a journey from Lagos and Mumbai to the White House, proves to be Hervé Le Tellier’s most ambitious work yet.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 36 minutes|
|Author||Hervé Le Tellier, Adriana Hunter - translator|
|Audible.ca Release Date||November 23 2021|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #8,602 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#45 in Technothrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#149 in Technothrillers (Books)
#222 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from Canada
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For some reason the author has characters engage in frequent conversational name-dropping - a poor substitute for good dialogue and an irritating habit in general.
This novel is basically one passable idea smothered by a parade of forgettable characters, and further doomed by a dull writing style.
Top reviews from other countries
Overall it was disappointing. Very overhyped.... I dunno what the editors were thinking.... its clear the writer was thinking time to wrap up. it reads like he lost interest!
The story is okay - the central idea is a rehash of existing ideas rather than anything strikingly new, and was very nearly a disappointment after a lengthy build-up...but the combination was cleverly put together and the second act in particular made for an interesting read. I felt the third act lost all momentum and was a bit of an effort to get through. On balance, I wouldn't recommend it.
It starts with chapters dedicated to a series of characters with nothing in common except they experienced turbulence while on a transatlantic flight. They include a ruthless hitman who lives a double life as the owner of a vegetarian catering business, a troubled author, a hot shot lawyer working for a questionable business, a disturbed veteran of overseas wars, a gay rapper, a film editor in a decaying relationship with an older architect, a terminally ill pilot. We are also introduced to two geeky mathematicians, Adrian and Meredith, circling around each other on the edge of a relationship.
Author Hervé le Tellier has fun while setting up his characters, while also allowing some more serious and darker currents to flow. He uses the troubled author to show the ridiculous pretentious side of the French literary establishment. While geeky mathematicians might seem a relatively easy target, treats them with affection, and, indeed, Adrian and Meredith’s first reactions to each other are an absolute delight. I also have to say, I never though I’d care so much about the fate of a pet frog. On the dark side, there is the cold blooded assassin, questions about corporate morality, homophobia in the world of hip hop, and a disturbing section about child abuse.
All of the stories are brought together in the central concept of the book (pre-publicised in the blurb, so no spoilers here), when a plane carrying the characters (excluding our mathematicians) flies out of a storm on its way to land in the US. The problem is that the same plane, with the same crew and passengers landed 106 days previously and all on board have since carried on living their lives for three months.
The rest of the book is then concerned with the questions of what the authorities will do to deal with the situation, how the individuals will react to meeting themselves, and what caused the anomaly in the first place. The authorities range from a statesmen like Macron, to an unnamed but obviously second term Trump, who is portrayed as an idiot out of his depth rather than a malicious nationalist, and a predictably secretive Chinese government.
The greatest weight is given to the individual stories which explore a range of responses, how does a secretive killer react to having himself around? How do those in relationships deal with the inevitable jealousy? How do the extra three months of those on the original plane alter the situation? Can mistakes be corrected with the extra knowledge?
In terms of the wider picture, three possible explanations for the duplication of the plane are explored, although the “true one” is quickly evident. It is here that I had my one major quibble with the book. Le Tellier’s choice to concentrate mainly on the individual tales left me feeling slightly dissatisfied. Not fully exploring the wider implications (even though the explanation is fundamental to the denouement) leaves the book, to my mind, with a bit of an unfulfilling vacuum. Also while I am at it, I didn’t really see the point of the child abuse storyline, there is no depth to it, which makes it seem rather exploitative.
However, overall, if one accepts Le Tellier’s choices and takes the Anomaly for what it is, a flashy, fast paced thriller based on a highly original premise, it certainly delivers. Coming soon to a cinema near you (I would expect).