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Publication in France:
13 October 2016

432 pages

Empty Promises


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Jérôme and Jérémie have been friends since primary school, for better and for worse.
To save Jérémie from his creditors, Jérôme agrees to start a 'bondage novel' on his behalf, even though he himself is immersed in writing a historical narrative featuring the politician Romain Lépide.

But when Xavier Hanotte's magical realism is deployed into the bargain, their respective narrative approaches begin to rub off on each other and this exercise in mutual assistance between the two writer friends starts to produce a novel within a novel within a novel: literature itself takes centre stage in the plot, with inevitable consequences...
Jérémie Straube is spreading himself thin. Struggling with the child maintenance payments, the novelist has adopted the unfortunate habit of signing several publishing contracts at the same time, knowing full well that he will never have time to write all the promised books and that he is heading for disaster.

Jérôme Walque meanwhile is a completely different kind of author. Scrupulous, obsessive and solitary, he can spend years honing a literary project without any thought for fame or success.

Xavier Hanotte is based in Brussels. His novels, all published by Belfond, have received unanimous critical praise. In 2014, he was elected to the Belgian Royal Academy of French Language and Literature.
More information in french