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The Adversary


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About the Author

Emmanuel Carrere is one of France's most critically acclaimed writers, author of screenplays, a biography of Philip K. Dick, and two novels, including Class Trip, which won the prestigious Prix Femina. A major bestseller in France, The Adversary is being published in eighteen countries. Carrere lives in Paris.


Here is a chilling yet riveting account of the seemingly remarkable rise and horrific fall of Jean-Claude Romand. To the world, Romand was a highly respected physician who had a brilliant career doing medical research at the World Health Organization as well as being a loving son and happily married father who doted on his two young children. In reality, though, Romand was none of these things. A pathological liar, he had managed to fabricate almost his entire life rather than deal with the ramifications of confessing. On the brink of financial collapse and discovery in 1993, Romand murdered his entire family and half-heartedly attempted to take his own life. French novelist CarrŠre (Class Trip), who found himself both pulled and repelled by this story, has woven a tautly written account of Romand's life. In telling Romand's story, he also writes of the process of creating this book. By injecting himself into the narrative, CarrŠre has managed to make this appalling story both fascinating and highly readable. Highly recommended.ÄKaren Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Those who knew Jean-Claude Romand knew him as a loving father and husband, a brilliant physician with a prestigious post at the World Health Organization and a good-natured, unassuming friend. So when in January 1993, Romand's wife, children and parents were all found dead, his acquaintances were stunned to learn that Romand was suspected of murdering them all. But as the police dug deeper, the motive for his actions soon became clear: neither a doctor nor an employee of WHO, Romand had been living a lie for 18 years and had supported his family primarily by swindling elderly relatives out of their retirement money. Recognizing that his imposture was on the verge of being exposed, he claimed that he killed his family to spare them the shame of learning the truth, and thenDintentionally or notDbotched his own suicide attempt. The story became a media sensation in France, and prize-winning novelist Carrre (Class Trip) reports feeling haunted by the similarities between the life Romand was ostensibly leading and his own, and he found himself almost compulsively drawn to the task of piecing together the identity of the real man behind Romand's deceptions. The resulting narrative is an absorbing, if deeply disturbing, account of an individual who, as Carrre concludes, had virtually no identity beyond the one he fabricated for himself. Carrre constructs a complex and admirably objective portrait of a man who, after botching a single medical exam, found it so difficult to admit his failure that he constructed an increasingly elaborate fabric of lies. While occasionally waxing melodramatic at odd moments, this is a literate and intelligent account of a perplexing story. (Jan.) Forecast: Carrre's book was a huge bestseller in France. Without the headlines to support it, it won't achieve that level of success here. Still, taut and fascinating, this should be well and widely reviewed and, as Carrre will be touring the U.S., should have lively sales not only among true crime buffs (the publisher will target mystery bookstores), but among all readers intrigued by the idea of a fabricated life. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Unputdownable...Imagine a sleek, twenty-first century version of In Cold Blood." --The Washington Post Book World "The mesmerizing true crime tale of an apparently ordinary man whose life mutates in the space of a few blood-splattering hours from the realm of Renoir to that of Stephen King." --People "Mesmerizing...a fascinating meditation on Jean-Claude Romand and what his bizarre life might mean." --The New York Times Book Review "As a writer, Carrere is straight berserk; as a storyteller he is so freakishly talented, so unassuming in grace and power that you only realize the hold he's got on you when you attempt to pull away....You say: True crime and Literature? I don't believe it. I say: Believe it." --Junot Diaz, author of Drown

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