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Synopsis

Jerry Marlow is on a coach hurtling from Milan to Strasbourg, even though he loathes coaches and everything they stand for. Jerry, suffice to say, is not a team player--not even when it comes to saving his own job. Together with a group of colleagues and students from the University of Milan, he's off to the European Parliament to protest new Italian laws against hiring foreigners--a cause which he opposes, appealing to an institution he's not sure should exist. So why is Jerry on the coach in the first place? Because she is there--the same she for whom Jerry left his wife and daughter and who has since broken his heart. The unnamed she in question is a beautiful French woman (of course), a hellcat in bed (it goes without saying), and an intellect of notable refinement (naturellement). She was also unfaithful, and now they scarcely speak to one another. The rest of this dark and often savagely funny novel (shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize) consists of one great Joycean rant, a stream-of-consciousness harangue that circles obsessively around sex, the treachery of she, and Jerry's boundless misanthropy.

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