‘You can go a long way with a lie, but you can never go back.’
Manhattan attorney Sam Tahar appears to have it all: looks, wealth, renown, an enviable marriage to the daughter of a prominent New York family, and two beautiful children. But his charmed life is built on a lie – he isn’t quite the person he claims to be.
As the son of a Tunisian immigrant growing up in a grimy Paris tower block with a downtrodden mother and troubled half-brother, Samir seemed destined to stay for ever on the margins. But he was determined to ‘cut through the bars of his social jail cell, even if he had to do it with his teeth’. He won a place at law school, where he met Samuel Baron, from a middle-class Jewish family, and his ravishing girlfriend Nina. The three friends were inseparable until Nina, torn between her feelings for the two young men, finally chose to stay with Samuel.
Samir flees to America and becomes Sam; when new colleagues at his law firm and then his wife-to-be Ruth Berg jump to the conclusion that he is of North African Jewish rather than Muslim origin, he doesn’t take the opportunity to set them straight. Snarled in his own, increasingly costly lie, over the years he assumes the identity of his former friend, who meanwhile remains trapped in a French suburb, a failed writer seething at Samir’s triumphs.
Then, Samuel tracks Samir down and finds a way to confront him – the three are dramatically thrown back into each other’s lives and Samir’s carefully constructed existence is ripped apart. In the long shadow of the war on terror, the American authorities don’t look kindly on those who have committed deceptions, particularly those with Samir’s background, and the consequences for him will be disastrous.
An international bestseller that was shortlisted for France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt, The Age of Reinvention is a suspenseful tale of a tangled love triangle, and an incisive exploration of the temptations and costs of remaking oneself.
Born in Paris in 1972, Karine Tuil is one of France’s foremost contemporary writers. An acclaimed and award-winning playwright and novelist, she has published nine novels including The Age of Reinvention, which was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt – her second nomination – and went on to become a notable bestseller. Her work has been published in several languages and The Age of Reinvention is her UK debut. She lives in Paris with her family.
‘A suspenseful . . . Gatsby-esque odyssey laced with provocative observations of prejudice, politics, and sexism. Deep down Sam knows that the question is not if his past will catch up to him but when. Sam’s secret lights the fuse on the twisty plot, but where it eventually explodes comes as a complete shock. Sadly, Tuil’s theme of anti-Muslim prejudice and its consequences seems even timelier today than when the novel was first published in France in 2013’ Publisher’s Weekly starred review
'Sex, lies and betrayal . . . A work of great magnitude. It delves into and embraces the complexity of our modern world, mixes it up, describes, dissects and, finally, helps us to understand it. Brimming with ideas, original, compulsive' Le Figaro
'Stolen identities, social ambition, and suspense: Karine Tuil triumphs with this masterful novel...Unquestionably one of the season's best' Paris Match
'Karine Tuil's energy and inventiveness never flag. A distinctive and powerful work' French Elle
‘A Yiddish proverb says: “You can go a long way with a lie, but you can never go back”. Karine Tuil illustrates this with verve and skill in The Age of Reinvention. Her feverish, haunted, characterful novel confirms the talent of this young author’ Nouvel Observateur