Richard and Sally Price have just published Boléro tropical (2016), a French version of their novel Enigma Variations (Harvard University Press, 1997), which has been described as “a mystery at the intersections of art and anthropology.” The novel is about an eccentric Frenchman who sells an extraordinary collection of primitive art in Cayenne. Two anthropologists, called by a museum to appraise the pieces, quickly find themselves caught up in a world where the borders between authenticity and deceit seem to melt away in the pervading heat.
Raymond Sokolov (Wall Street Journal) writes, “A fabulous and unique artifact, an art-historical whodunit told with great flair, intelligence, and sensitivity. Like the art it tells us so much about, Enigma Variations is a hybrid work that keeps tempting you to read it as fact although it is officially labeled fiction…For the reader, puzzling out which is which is part of the enigmatic charm of the Prices’ book–a novel based on the authors’ anthropological experiences. The Prices certainly have the great novelist’s ability to breathe life into the people they invent–and also, it appears, to breathe life into the living.”