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***Winner of the 2010 French Voices Translation Grant***
***100-page translation sample available***
Part round-the-world adventure—think Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days—part philosophical dramedy—think Voltaire’s Candide—Thierry Maugenest’s Ratings Circus is a novel that beautifully satirizes our modern global life of hyperactive media in a way that is wholly original.
A reality TV producer has a brilliant idea, the next big hit that will top the ratings chart. He will remake Jules Verne with a modern twist: His round-the-world-in-eighty days hero will be a lackluster loser with no money, no help, and no tickets (or so the audience will be told). He will be sent off to voyage around the world in eighty days to win a prize of three million dollars.
The producer finds Sullivan Chance, a hometown boy from deepest Arizona. He’s the perfect rube to reel in the viewers . . . naïve, uneducated, and perpetually unmotivated, a sort of modern-day Candide. Chance, however, has one ability that Candide never had, an ability to adapt to the speech patterns, cultural norms, and physical movements of the people who surround him. There’s a much deeper world philosophy at work with Chance than the cynical producer ever dreamed of. The journey around the world finds Chance adapting to homeless rappers in Red Hook, Brooklyn; the traditional fishermen off the coast of Senegal; Buddhist monks in the Himalayas; and the tribes in the unseen forests of the Amazon, as all of America watches with rapt attention. But there is no way he can adapt to the three bullets that await him when he returns home to Arizona.
It’s unreality TV at its best, a tale told in a kaleidoscopic narrative mix of interviews, articles, books, and personal testimonies on the subject of Sullivan Chance’s unusual life, brief career, and mysterious death. Thierry Maugenest’s fourth novel is both a humorous adventure and a testimony to the ways in which the age of media has changed our relationship to people around the world.
Thierry Maugenest : Thierry Maugenest spent ten years working as a translator and traveling around the world. He is the author of three books, all published by Liana Levi: Venise.net (2003), La Poudre des rois (2004), and Manuscrit ms 408 Voynich (2005). His books have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Polish, Italian, German, Czech, and Vietnamese.