By the celebrated Oulipo writer, this brilliant and witty novel set in Lisbon explores love, relationships, and the strange balance between literature and life.
Journalist, writer, and translator Vincent Balmer moves to Lisbon to escape from a failing affair. During his first assignment there, he teams up with Antonio—a photographer who has just returned to the city after a ten-year absence—to report for a French newspaper on an infamous serial killer’s trial.
While walking around the city together to take notes and photos for the article, they visit the places of Antonio’s childhood, swap stories from their pasts, and confide in each other. But the more they learn about each other, the more their lives become inextricably intertwined.
With a structure that parallels Homer’s Odyssey, Eléctrico W recounts their nine days together and the adventures that proliferate to form a constellation of successive ephemeral connections and relationships.
"Romantic and atmospheric, this novel also benefits from a particularly fine sense of place and time...Dealing with so many characters...makes it lively and fleet. An epilogue describes the characters’ futures so neatly and completely that the reader may want to skip it. But skipping anything else in this witty, sad, and interesting novel would be a shame." —Publisher's Weekly
"...an engaging spapshot of these [characters'] briefly intersecting lives." —New York Times Book Review
"Delicate handling of deep themes—loss, missed connections, meaninglessness—gives the novel an emotional charge greater than its low-key particulars and pacing." —Kirkus
"...it is humorous and reads effortlessly." —Booklist
"...told with an earnestness that we see less and less of in novels in America. Le Tellier might remind readers of Robert Bolaño; both feature a poetic melancholy and characters that understand the world through the prism of literature." —The Daily Beast
"Both in its clever meditation on love and even the act of writing about love, Electrico W is a knotty wonder, both intricate in its form and serious in its emotional heft...a wonderful journey" —Coal Hill Review
"...enjoyable and even affecting..."—The Complete Review
"Clever and original, Electrico W examines the themes of love and death with a good deal of honest emotion..." —Seeing the World Through Books
"Eléctrico W is a playfully profound narrative about his undying obsession with obsession, told with a charming, thwarted desire for love and self-understanding. Le Tellier’s shrewd and wandering intelligence animates Balmer’s psyche – making Eléctrico W a strangely affecting story that toys with conventionality and compels the reader’s attention at all times while eluding its grasp with a comic flair." —On The Seawall
"Le Tellier is a master storyteller that is able to intermix the present with flashbacks, making the reader question whether the truth is being presented to them." —City Book Review
"The prose is crisp, clever and efficient. Le Tellier does a masterful job of doling out information at just the right time and increasing the stakes as the novel progresses to give a sense of forward motion. With a smart structure, a charming and distrustful narrator and a relatable plot, Electrico W is the type of novel that bounces around the brain for several days." —20 Something Reads
"A compelling, unconventional, and ultimately unrequited love story." —Reading in Translation