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Description de l’éditeur
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION
An astonishing new novel of loss and grief from “one of our culture’s preeminent novelists” (Los Angeles Times)
Zach Wells is a perpetually dissatisfied geologist-slash-paleobiologist. Expert in a very narrow area—the geological history of a cave forty-four meters above the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon—he is a laconic man who plays chess with his daughter, trades puns with his wife while she does yoga, and dodges committee work at the college where he teaches.
After a field trip to the desert yields nothing more than a colleague with a tenure problem and a student with an unwelcome crush on him, Wells returns home to find his world crumbling. His daughter has lost her edge at chess, she has developed mysterious eye problems, and her memory has lost its grasp. Powerless in the face of his daughter’s slow deterioration, he finds a mysterious note asking for help tucked into the pocket of a jacket he’s ordered off eBay. Desperate for someone to save, he sets off to New Mexico in secret on a quixotic rescue mission.
A deeply affecting story about the lengths to which loss and grief will drive us, Telephone is a Percival Everett novel we should have seen coming all along, one that will shake you to the core as it asks questions about the power of narrative to save.
Everett's affecting if uneven latest (after the novel So Much Blue) is narrated by Zach Wells, a tenured "geologist-slash-paleobiologist" professor at a university in Los Angeles. Wells's life is cushy yet dissatisfying his marriage has stagnated, as has his passion for teaching. His sole source of joy comes from his 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, a precocious kid with a talent for chess. But soon Wells faces problems larger than his ennui: he is unsettled by a student's infatuation, and a friendship with an "extremely young" assistant professor verges on romantic with an unexpected kiss. Back home, Sarah shows symptoms of epilepsy that are later diagnosed as symptoms of a rare terminal illness. While these plotlines alone would suffice for a novel, Everett throws in another, stranger twist. Wells discovers a slip of paper reading "Ayuadame" (help me in Spanish ) in the pocket of a jacket he'd ordered on eBay from a New Mexico merchant. Having decided to investigate, he uncovers a workshop staffed by kidnapped Mexican women and sets out to save them. The juggling act Everett must maintain to keep the book coherent leads to some unsatisfying and rushed conclusions, yet his greatest success is not in the story but in the portrait of a man pushed by grief toward irrationality. Despite its bumps, this is a spellbinding, heartbreaking tale. \n