Lightning
2013 Longlist

Lightning

Translated from the original French by Linda Coverdale
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Drawn from the life of Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest inventors of his time, Lightning is a captivating tale of one man’s curious fascination with the marvels of science.

Hailed by the Washington Post as “the most distinctive voice of his generation,” Echenoz traces the notable career of Gregor, a precocious young engineer from Eastern Europe, who travels across the Atlantic at the age of twenty-eight to work alongside Thomas Edison, with whom he later holds a long-lasting rivalry. After his discovery of alternating current, Gregor quickly begins to astound the world with his other brilliant inventions, including everything from radio, radar, and wireless communication to cellular technology, remote control, and the electron microscope.

Echenoz gradually reveals the eccentric inner world of a solitary man who holds a rare gift for imagining devices well before they come into existence. Gregor is a recluse-an odd and enigmatic intellect who avoids women and instead prefers spending hours a day courting pigeons in Central Park. Echenoz  demonstrates his astonishing abilities as a prose stylist as he vividly captures the life of an isolated genius. A beautifully crafted portrait of a man who prefers the company of lightning in the Colorado desert to that of other human beings, Lightning is a dazzling new work from one of the world’s leading contemporary authors.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Jean
Echenoz

Jean Echenoz won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt for I’m Gone (The New Press). He is the author of five previous novels in English translation and the winner of numerous literary prizes, among them the Prix Médicis and the European Literature Jeopardy Prize. He lives in Paris.

 

Jean Echenoz won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt for I’m Gone (The New Press). He is the author of five previous novels in English translation and the winner of numerous literary prizes, among them the Prix Médicis and the European Literature Jeopardy Prize. He lives in Paris.

 

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Linda
Coverdale

Linda Coverdale is a literary translator from French. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a Ph.D in French Literature. She has translated into English more than 60 works by such authors as Roland Barthes, Emmanuel Carrère, Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, Marie Darrieussecq, Jean Echenoz, Annie Ernaux, Sébastien Japrisot, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Philippe Labro, Yann Queffélec, Jorge Semprún, Lyonel Trouillot, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Jean Hartzfeld, Sylvain Tesson and Marguerite Duras.

Linda Coverdale is a literary translator from French. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a Ph.D in French Literature. She has translated into English more than 60 works by such authors as Roland Barthes, Emmanuel Carrère, Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, Marie Darrieussecq, Jean Echenoz, Annie Ernaux, Sébastien Japrisot, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Philippe Labro, Yann Queffélec, Jorge Semprún, Lyonel Trouillot, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Jean Hartzfeld, Sylvain Tesson and Marguerite Duras.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Echenoz has written about the life of a genius, who was interested more in research than in profit, who was unpleasant, arrogant, and lived a lonely life. Lightning is written with intelligence and humour.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
31/05/2010
Country
France
Original Language
French
Author
Publisher
The New Press
Translator
Linda Coverdale
Translation
Translated from the original French by Linda Coverdale

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