Fresh Talent: The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil

Fresh Talent: The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil

The Age of Reinvention – Karine Tuil

A suspenseful tale of a tangled love triangle amidst the war on terror.

Manhattan attorney Sam Tahar appears to have it all: fame, fortune, an enviable marriage to a prominent socialite, and two children. But his charmed life is built on a lie – he isn’t the person he pretends to be.

As the son of a Tunisian immigrant growing up in a grimy Paris tower block, Samir Tahar seemed destined to stay on the margins – until he decided to ‘cut through the bars of his social jail cell, even if he had to do it with his teeth’. At law school, he became friends with Jewish student Samuel Baron. The two were inseparable until the irresistible Nina, torn between the men, chose Samuel. Samir fled to America, where he assumed Samuel’s identity while his former friend remained trapped in a French suburb, a failed writer seething at Samir’s triumphs.

Years later, the three meet again and Samir’s carefully constructed existence is blown apart, with disastrous consequences. The Age of Reinvention is a smart, captivating story about the temptations and terrible costs of remaking oneself.

Karine Tuil Biography

Karine Tuil was born in Paris in 1972.

A novelist and playwright, she is the award-winning author of eight previous novels, which have been translated into several languages.

The Age of Reinvention is her first novel to appear in English and was a notable bestseller in France and shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt.

Karine Tuil on the Inspiration Behind The Age of Reinvention

A few years ago, there was a series of suicides in a famous French company. I asked myself what has changed in this world. Why do people commit suicide in their work place? How difficult is the present time? This fear, this crisis, this anxiety are especially strong and real for minorities or people on low incomes in France.

In France, many groups of people suffer from discrimination. I wanted to tell a story about a Muslim man who must lie about his identity if he wants to find employment. In my book, Samir Tahar is a brilliant man and a good lawyer but after he finishes his studies he cannot find a job. I knew that Tahar was a name used both by Jews and Muslims; part of the reason I chose it.

I found the material fascinating for fiction, as identity and social place are real issues in France. Identity first, because French people love to argue about it. The place of minorities, discrimination, social inequalities according to where you live… The poet Aimé Cesaire used to say that sooner or later you have to deal with identity. It’s the real subject of the century. But the question is – do our origins, our identity, our education, condemn us?

Our society tries to keep us enclosed, so I wanted to explore the way we live now, in all its edgy complexity, and develop a novel about people and freedom. I enjoy novels that talk about society like Michel Houellebecq or Jonathan Franzen. In my novel, none of the characters are free. They want to love without suffering, lie without feeling guilty and they understand sooner or later that it is impossible. As the proverb says, “You can go a long way with a lie, but you can never go back.”

Freedom has a price. The Age of Reinvention is a portrait of the many ways we attempt to reinvent ourselves, to rewrite our stories, in order to fulfil the obsessions that drive us.

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