A truck, a Paris street, an absent-minded philosopher. On February 25, 1980, these disparate objects collided and fused into biographical fact: the semiotician Roland Barthes stepped off a curb near his Left Bank office and was hit by a laundry van. He died a month later in a Paris hospital.

For the resourceful French novelist Laurent Binet, though, Barthes’s death is not the ending… Read more in 4Columns