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The Invention of Bodies (“L'Invention des corps”), by Pierre Ducrozet
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The Invention of Bodies (“L'Invention des corps”), by Pierre Ducrozet

From immortality made in Silicon Valley to the transhumanist bodies of hackers, Pierre Ducrozet delivers a captivating and sprawling study of the body, transformed in the twenty-first century by our network society.

© Actes Sud
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Bookseller, columnist, novelist

Born in Lyon in 1982, Pierre Ducrozet has been a teacher at the French High School in Barcelona and a bookseller in Paris. Splitting his time between Paris and Berlin, the novelist is also a literary columnist (Le Magazine des livres, La Presse littéraire, The Pariser) and translator.

 

After Requiem for Lola Rouge (“Requiem pour Lola rouge”) (2010), winner of the 2011 Prix de la Vocation, then The Life We Wanted (“La Vie qu’on voulait”) (2013), and Eroïca (2015), devoted to painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, his fourth novel, The Invention of Bodies, won the Flore Prize in 2017.

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A contemporary novel

Following a protest in Iguala, where 43 students were kidnapped and murdered by the police, Alvaro, a young Mexican programmer, decides to flee to the United States. There he meets a billionaire entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, who has just recruited a brilliant French biologist and who asks him to be the guinea pig for a transhumanist experiment.

 

The Invention of Bodies by Pierre Ducrozet weaves a tale of Anonymous hackers and transhumanist elites, a quest for immortality and an exploration of the networks that shape the contemporary world, from the Internet to the human body.

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A well-researched story

For his novel, Pierre Ducrozet began to immerse himself in the Mexican and American atmospheres and landscapes. He explored Mexico with an architect who introduced him to the various historical layers of the frenetic capital. Then, from Mexico City to San Francisco, via Oaxaca, Los Angeles, Big Sur, Nevada, and Arizona, he criss-crossed the roads, lands, and colours of the distant countries that would fuel his novel. And he met hackers in San Francisco – who would bring his characters to life.

 

When he returned to France, he wrote his novel in just two months.

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A networked novel

The Invention of Bodies by Pierre Ducrozet weaves its tale like a network, bypassing linear chronology to adopt a modern form of storytelling, with many branches. This cosmopolitan and web-like novel belongs to a travelling writer, an explorer of modernity – from biotechnology to the history of the Internet, to hackers and transhumanism.

 

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The Institut français and the project

Winner of an Institut français Stendhal Residency, Pierre Ducrozet was in Mexico between June and August of 2016.

 

The Stendhal programme allows French authors or authors living in France to travel to a foreign country and work on a writing project related to that country.