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Saint Glinglin (French Literature) Hardcover – June 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For readers willing to relax demands for credibility and logic, Queneau's funny, philosophical nonsense is addictive. Here, Queneau ( Zazie dans le metro ) has created a world, starting with its banalities: the cliches, the tired small talk, the outdated prejudices, the little points of pride. This world, Home Town, is settled in its ways under perpetually blue skies and under the guidance of Nabonidus, its proud mayor. But the mayor's children, all corrupted by influences from Foreign Town, turn against both their father and the traditional ways. To say any more about the plot is to imply that there really is one. Like all of Queneau's books, this is much about language, both dry experimentation (the entire book is a lipogram--there are no X s) and full of neologisms and quirky style, which are meant simply to amuse ("Pierre went back down the three steps, paused by his father without turning his head, put his hat atop his head where it belonged, bent to pick up his suitcase and left"). But Saint Glinglin also has a distinctly mystical bent with its (often obscure) musings on life and fish, alienation and verdancy, sacrifice and eel-baskets. Described in brief, Queneau may seem a fearsome read, but in situ he is a gentle, playful guide.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The novels of Queneau (1903-76) were forerunners of le nouveau roman (the "new novel"), which rejected traditional methods of plotting and characterization and instead created fantastical fictional worlds replete with "new" languages. This novel suggests that fear binds all living beings together, but readers won't be able to dwell on that emotion, busy as they are trying to follow a bizarre plot replete with characters just this side of lunacy yet touchingly human. The liberal use of phonetic spelling ( existence translates to eksistence , aiguesistence, orgresistence , eggsistence , or algae sistence , if its fish) keeps us alert and amused. Queneau's riveting language provides an entree to complex existentialist meditations on the alienation of both fish and humans from nature and to brilliantly inventive discourses on insects. The plot is fantastical but interwoven with enough threads of reality to keep the reader turning pages. A fine rendition of one of Queneau's most important novels; essential for academic and large public libraries.
- Olivia Opello, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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