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Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each…

Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World (original 2008; edition 2011)

by Bernard-Henri Levy, Michel Houellebecq

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Title:Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World
Authors:Bernard-Henri Levy
Other authors:Michel Houellebecq
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2011), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take On Each Other and the World by Bernard-Henri Lévy (2008)


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This is a book about the tensions between honesty, truth and fame. It is also a firework display of insight. Unfortunately the publishers believe that presenting the dialogue as a fight might make it more interesting to readers. There is no fight here. There is a cordial exchange of ideas. BHL and MH reveal a lot about themselves and this might satisfy their admirers or detractors, but they also discuss literature, philosophy, fame, writing, cinema, life, death - the whole panoply - and they do it with style, wit and intelligence. Great fun for truth seekers. ( )
1 vote freelancer_frank | Apr 17, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lévy, Bernard-Henriprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Houellebecq, Michelmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812980786, Paperback)

The international publishing sensation is now available in the United States—two brilliant, controversial authors confront each other and their enemies in an unforgettable exchange of letters.
In one corner, Bernard-Henri Lévy, creator of the classic Barbarism with a Human Face, dismissed by the media as a wealthy, self-promoting, arrogant do-gooder. In the other, Michel Houellebecq, bestselling author of The Elementary Particles, widely derided as a sex-obsessed racist and misogynist. What began as a secret correspondence between bitter enemies evolved into a remarkable joint personal meditation by France’s premier literary and political live wires.  An instant international bestseller, Public Enemies has now been translated into English for all lovers of superb insights, scandalous opinions, and iconoclastic ideas.

In wicked, wide-ranging, and freewheeling letters, the two self-described “whipping boys” debate whether they crave disgrace or secretly have an insane desire to please. Lévy extols heroism in the face of tyranny; Houellebecq sees himself as one who would “fight little and badly.” Lévy says “life does not ‘live’” unless he can write; Houellebecq bemoans work as leaving him in such “a state of nervous exhaustion that it takes several bottles of alcohol to get out.” There are also touching and intimate exchanges on the existence of God and about their own families.

Dazzling, delightful, and provocative, Public Enemies is a death match between literary lions, remarkable men who find common ground, confident that, in the end (as Lévy puts it), “it is we who will come out on top.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:20 -0400)

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What begins as an exchange between bitter enemies evolves into a joint personal meditation among France's premier literary and philosophical live wires on their lives, their writing, and what it means to think.

(summary from another edition)

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