Perlmann’s Silence

Pascal Mercier, trans. from the German by Shaun Whiteside. Grove, $25 (624p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1957-5
Philosophy professor Mercier’s second novel, originally published in Germany in 1995, explores depression and the desperation born of procrastination. Philipp Perlmann, a prominent professor and linguist, is in charge of a monthlong academic conference at a retreat outside the seaside town of Rapallo, Italy. Each participant must debut a new theory, and Philipp—paralyzed with ennui and writer’s block—relies on sleeping pills, a local trattoria, and his memories as means of escape. Then, after translating a Russian colleague’s manuscript, Philipp decides to pass it off as his own to meet the conference deadline. When the colleague unexpectedly decides to join the group, Philipp takes extraordinary measures to protect his secret. Unfortunately, as readers journey through his cowardice and deteriorating mental state—and the novel’s endless exposition—Philipp proves both unreliable and unlikable. Even more introspective than Night Train to Lisbon, Mercier has allowed his protagonist’s rumination to bury the novel’s other elements. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 12/01/2011
Show other formats
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4458-5988-0
Hardcover - 978-1-4458-5989-7
Open Ebook - 837 pages - 978-0-85789-417-5
Paperback - 616 pages - 978-0-8021-2083-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-6360-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4692-6359-5
Paperback - 616 pages - 978-1-84887-718-4
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-1-84887-717-7
Book - 978-1-4558-7037-0
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.