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Laurent Binet Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

HHhH (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Seventh Function of Language (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Civilizations (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Laurent Binet has become one of the most intriguing figures in the world of French literature. He has especially been heralded for his novel HHhH and has brought people closer to the world of French culture and history. His work has also been noteworthy for being somewhat critical of many of the different conventions that are often found in literature.

The literature that he has made over the years especially concentrates on the way how literature is formed and what people do when looking into those from the past. This is a rather unique concept that has helped Binet to become a popular figure.


Laurent Binet was born in 1972 in Paris. He was the son of a historian and was especially interested over the years in French history. This has inspired his work but it has also influenced him to get into writing to explore how people think and how to convey it to the world.

He went to the University of Paris and graduated with a degree in literature. He started teaching in secondary schools around Paris not long after his graduation. He also teaches at the University of Saint-Denis.

Binet has also worked alongside a number of figures in France’s government and elite castes. He was embedded with the campaign staff for Francois Hollande’s successful 2012 bid to become the president of France. The work that Binet has done over the years has helped him become a popular figure in terms of the functions he works with and what he has to offer to the world.

A Focus On History

Much of the work that BInet has written entails history and literature. He particularly focuses much of his work on studying World War II and the French involvement in the conflict. This especially comes amid reviews of how important the French military was and how much of Europe worked together to defeat the Nazi forces from the time.

He also focuses on postmodern work in terms of how he writes. His postmodern work particularly relates to being self-referential while also looking to explain reality and what causes people to behave as they do.

Metafiction is a particular line of interest in Binet’s work. Metafiction focuses on deviating from traditional conventions of literature and makes reference to the artificial nature of many forms of fiction. This is used to challenge the reader and to change one’s view of how some kind of literature might work.

Early Work

The first novel from Laurent Binet was released in 2004. La vie professionnelle de Laurent B. was written about his early years in teaching students around Paris. This includes understanding how students learn and the attitudes that they hold with regards to how people teach certain values and concepts.

His second novel was the 2010 book HHhH. This is considered to be his debut novel in that it was the first work that he made that was published and offered to a much larger audience.

HHhH is about the 1942 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a Nazi leader. The novel is about Heydrich’s history and how his personal assassins targeted their victims. This particularly leads up to Operation Anthropoid, the campaign that eventually led to Heydrich being killed in Prague.

The book also highlights the lives of Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis. These are two people from Czechoslovakia who escaped from the country during its Nazi rule and fled to England. They were the figures that the British secret service hired in the Anthropoid campaign to kill Heydrich.

Much of this novel features some of the postmodern characteristics that Binet is known for. Specifically, it focuses on how he researched the content for this work. It also has his own commentary with regards to how the behaviors of people can be fictionalized and how those people should be properly depicted in various works.

HHhH is named for a saying about Heydrich, “Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich.” This translates from German to “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich. This refers to Heinrich Luitpold Himmler, a key leader of the Nazi army throughout World War II. It especially references how important Heydrich’s work was in terms of getting the Nazi movement to thrive in Germany for as long as it did.

HHhH is the only novel of his that is available in English. It was translated into English by Sam Taylor in 2012.

Other Novels

Laurent Binet also wrote the 2012 novel Rien ne se passe comme prevu. This is a novel about his time following the staff that worked to promote Francois Hollande’s presidential campaign. The book focuses on the actions used by the staff to help get Hollande to become a more appealing figure for the 2012 presidential election. Of course, Hollande did eventually win the election.

He also wrote the novel La Septieme Fonction du langage in 2015.


HHhH has won a number of awards including the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. This is a novel given to the best debut novel in French literature. HHhH was also a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. It was also named one of the Notable Books of the Year from the New York Times in 2012.

HHhH has especially been heralded for being a unique work of historical fiction that delves into what makes a person act in certain ways. Many best-selling authors from all around the world like Bret Easton Ellis and Colum McCann.

Film Adaptations

HHhH was made into a film in 2016. The film was directed by Cedric Jimenez and features Jason Clarke as Reinhard Heydrich and Rosamund Pike as his wife Lina. Jack O’Connell, Jack Reynor and Mia Wasikowska are among the others in this film. Much of this film was shot in Prague, the city that Heydrich worked in throughout much of his life.

The world of Laurent Binet has become appealing to many who are interested in the field of history. The intriguing conventions that Binet works with has especially helped him to stand out and be more unique in terms of how the field of literature works and what makes it different.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Laurent Binet

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