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The Trolley Hardcover – July, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reaching gracefully into the past, the 88-year-old Simon uses the trolley he rode during his childhood as a means to combine memories from his youth with observations stemming from his current status as a Nobel Prize winner and a cultural icon in his native France. Forgoing the normal restrictions of plot, Simon makes his way from one memory to the next, connecting images and characters with sweeping, elegiac prose as he recalls his mother and various relatives, some of the schoolboys who rode the trolley with him and other fellow passengers. He also explores the history of the trolley in a series of elegant descriptions, using brief episodes from the vehicle's history to augment his personal experiences. Simon's thoughts on the restrictions of aging as well as some wartime memories begin to creep in as the book progresses, and the author's command remains so formidable that he surrounds many of his subjects and themes rather than coming at them head on. This book, beautifully translated by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Howard (who has also translated seven of Simon's previous novels), finds the author working from a palette of words, images and memories to create a unique, vivid world echoing the works of Proust. Simon, a former cavalryman in the Spanish Civil War who also fought in the Resistance and WWII, has built an estimable body of work during his luminous career, and the literary gifts that led to his success remain on display in this well-crafted, insightful novel.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Octogenarian and 1985 Nobel Prize winner Simon is a leading proponent of France's New Novel, known for its intellectual objectivity and innovative experimentation. The structure of this novelette alternates between the recollections of the narrator during his youth (in particular the trolley that transported him to school every day) and the recounting of his experience in a hospital in old age. This flux of memory and time unites the two story lines and blurs the past and present, as a wheeled object (the trolley and the hospital gurney) likewise leads the reader between two worlds. This work bears all the hallmarks of Simon's inimitable style, especially elaborate images and Proustian sentences, frequently interrupted midstream by parenthetical distractions. Though fragmentary, the style is much more readable here than in earlier efforts, partly because the trademark pages of seemingly unending prose are broken up into more digestible units. This is engaging literature, meant to be experienced and savored. Libraries that have acquired other translations of this 20th-century master have no reason to stop with this, the translator's eighth successful English-language version of a Simon novel since The Acacia. Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 109 pages
  • Publisher: New Press (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565847342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565847347
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,007,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ford on November 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
This last of Simon's books is bittersweet. As engaging as it is, it makes one long for the Simon of "Flanders Road," "Georgics," "Histoire." The English translations of all of his books are mostly, if not entirely, out of print; which is an injustice to a writer as wise, deep, broad as Stendhal, Melville; as innovative as any of the Modernists; as passionate in his values as Camus, Orwell.
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