cover image The Anomaly

The Anomaly

Hervé Le Tellier, trans. from the French by Adriana Hunter. Other Press, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-63542-169-9

This Prix Goncourt winner from Le Tellier (All Happy Families), an extraordinary mix of existential thriller and speculative fiction, introduces several characters, starting with a French hit man named Blake, all of whom take Air France Flight 006 from Paris to New York on March 10, 2021. The plane hits some highly unusual turbulence as it nears its destination, but lands safely. Later, one passenger, author Victor Miesel, writes a novel titled The Anomaly, then dies by suicide. Other passengers’ lives continue onward in their own way. Then FBI agents seek out each of the passengers on the flight. All are gathered under Protocol 42, developed by two mathematicians to make sense of unforeseen and unimagined air traffic events that go far beyond extraterrestrial interference or controls overridden by an artificial intelligence. The reality-defying incident creates a crisis, which a Trump-like American president fumbles his way through. Questions of philosophy, mathematics, and astrophysics bend this novel far from the typical mold, and Le Tellier’s characters must confront the deepest questions of existence. This thought-provoking literary work deserves a wide readership. (Nov.)