Thomas Coppey ‘Potentiel du Sinistre’

Going Back over last December’s Lire Magazine checking out the laureates of the 20 best books of the year, I found in second place, in the category Best First French Novel, Thomas Coppey’s book ‘Potentiel Du Sinistre’ image Chanard, the person at the centre of the book is a young and, soon to be confirmed, brilliant financial engineer who is married to, we suppose, an equally brilliant young manager who has just had her first child at the start of the book. The book concerns the world of finance but it could concern any high-flying major enterprise. As Chanard begins in his new job full of talk of ethics, talk of procedures, talk of loyalty and yes just talk, hollow hollow talk, his wife returns to work after maternity leave. We follow the swift ascension of Chanard as he is moulded by his enterprise which is in complete contrast to his wife who, from a promising situation before the maternity leave, is parked in a cupboard upon returning, his creation of ‘Catastrophe Bonds. We watch as his job consumes him and as his wife follows a diametrically opposite path until his awakening. An ambitious book by its subject (difficult to render) and the outcome. We all recognise some parts of the picture drawn of Chanard’s life, but not too much I hope. An interesting first book, but a first book nonetheless. I would hope for a rounder vision in his next work

Potentiel du Sinistre: First published in French by Actes Sud in 2014

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