“Love Lasts Three Years” by Frédéric Beigbeder

Love Lasts Three YearsWinner of the 2008 Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation

Two of Beigbeder’s early, autobiographic novels, Holiday in a Coma and Love Lasts Three Years chart the fall and fall of his alter-ego Marc Marronier the feckless, guileless, clueless hero attempts to get laid and stay laid while all around him degenerates into frenzy and farce. Beigbeder is invariably lacerating about the Paris demi-monde, it’s a world that as socialite, journalist and homme-about-town he is all too familiar with, and his caustic observations are all the more accurate for it.

In ‘Holiday in a Coma’, Marc Marronier is invited by his old friend, an American DJ, to the opening of a new nightclub called The Shitter (a satirical take on the famous Paris nightclub, Les Bains Douche). Taking place over a single unforgettable night, the novel documents everything from the pit-bull bouncer on the door, to the drugs, cocktails and wannabes who frequent the club. Marc has set his sights on seducing a catwak model – any one will do – and is trying to keep a clear head while all around are paying good money to lose theirs. A catalogue of degeneracy, drugs, sex and decibels, ‘Holiday in a Coma’ is written with a fury and passion that reflect the author’s own relationship with a world and he both loves and loathes.

 

In ‘Love Lasts Three Years’, our hero Marc has just been divorced and – shallow opportunist that he is – has decided to write a book about it. He has a theory that love lasts no more than three years, and here – while recounting the highs and lows of his marriage and taking us through brash nightclubs, vainglorious offices and soulless designer apartments – he brings to bear the theoretical and the empirical to prove his point. Both frightening and funny, the book reads like a diary: sometimes tender and real, sometimes fantastical and cruel, peppered with Beigbeder’s acerbic one-liners and trademark wit.

 

Praise or Holiday in a Coma/Love Lasts Three Years

‘Beigbeder may be a show off, but he is also a stylist of considerable talent…“Holiday in a Coma” reminds me of early Martin Amis – specifically the torture-filled, drug-riddled “Dead Babies”…In its subtle way, “Love Last Three Years” is just as artful as its predecessor. Narrated in the first person, Marc’s candid description of being in love is so fresh that we almost feel his roiling emotions first hand. This is a difficult trick to pull off, but Beigbeder manages it magnificently.’

Daily Telegraph

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