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Zone Paperback – December 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Frenchman Mathias Énard’s Zone, released in France in 2008 and just out from Open Letter, has earned abundant and varied praise. Already the proclaimed darling of French critics and awards, the novel is poised to make a startling impression upon its audience in America. It's a one-sentence wonder; a spy thriller; a miniature history of the Mediterranean; intellectually dense and historically expansive; an overwhelmingly exquisite and trying tome."Words Without Borders
"One does not so much read this book as become absorbed in it. The cacophony of images is vast and chaotic, yet this is a kind of bewilderment that engages, instilling a desire for repeat readings in order to gain a clearer view ... At length, Zone comes to feel like a book that has contained multitudes, one that can support a hundred theories and spark a hundred arguments ... a startling, stimulating read, a document that should stand out as a memorable part of the long history of its setting."Scott Esposito, The National
"Move over, James Joyce and all other pretenders. The new owner of the record for longest sentence in published literature is Mathias Enard for his 517-page French novel "Zone." In fact, the entire novel, except for a few pages of flash backs, is made up of a single 150,000-word sentence."Patrick T. Reardon, Oklahoma City Newspaper
"Énard takes up the challenge of writing an endless sentence by including only one period in his long novel. This ambitious gamble won Énard considerable praise in France, and now, with Charlotte Mandell’s lucid translation, readers of English can evaluate his text and larger mythic framework ... Though the reader is marooned in Mirkovic’s consciousness for more than 500 pages, the boundaries of his skull do not feel claustrophobic, because the mind at work in the novel is remarkably elastic ... this millennial archive also measures guilt it passes sentence, as it were, on both the regrets and memories of Énard’s narrator and the larger guilt and shame that he describes as the weight of Western civilization.”"Stephen Burn, The New York TImes
"Zone is a documentary novel. While throughout its pages, it invokes acontinually the sources of Western lliterature vis-á-vis the ancient myths, it all the same reflects our age's curatorial impulses to preserve information lest it be forgotten over the course of the nest news cycle. It is, in short, one of the best books of the year."Christopher Byrd, The Daily Beast
"...one of the more breathlessly received French novels of recent years, now elegantly translated into English by Charlotte Mandell ... the author is less interested in the conventional tale of cross and double-cross than with the psychology of betrayal. So, instead of a Bond-style spectacle, we get a meditation on honour, belief, fealty, and patriotism. In place of an espionage thriller we find a historical and philosophical investigation into the human propensity to bend high ideals into justifications for bloodshed and tribal hatred."Geordie Williamson, The Australian
"Only rarely is a novel ambitious enough to contribute to the general discourse on the novel, as if one book could illuminate them all. Yet, Zone,” which draws equally from the French- and English-language novelistic traditions, is perhaps capable of telling us something about one possible shape the novel may take going forward. Formally ambitious and with a deep sense of political engagement, Zone” is brilliant but imperfect, a virtuosic showcase of memory, consciousness, and the lingering effects of political conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the crisis in Palestine ... Buoyed by powerful, stark prose and an acute sense of empathy, Zone” carries the novel forward as unstoppably as the history it seeks to describe."David S. Wallace, The Harvard Crimson
"...The books should be a disaster, a pretentious mess. But somehow, miraculously, it's not. It's compulsively readable, thoroughly compelling, and, to my way of thinking, the most exciting and interesting new work of literature I've read in a long time."Dennis Abrams, Publishing Perspectives
"Zone is a contemporary Homeric epic, 500 pages of one sentenceand it works. Enard’s message is that no matter where the conflict takes place and what the issues are, the human atrocities are the same."Olive Mullet, New Pages
"As Énard weaves these pieces into his feverish monologue, one gets the sense of history as something geological, a succession of ruins and conflicts laid upon one another like layers of rock. The dead are the incriminating fossils perpetually finding their way to the surface."Jacob Silverman, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Énard plumbs the depths of human cruelty to create a work of extraordinary moral gravity and literary power, a novel that deserves a place among the great works of war literature."Michael Andrews, Bomb Magazine
Top Customer Reviews
Interwoven with the narrator's personal history is the history of the region, bristling with interesting facts, and made alive by a wonderfully dreamy narrative that is extremely evocative of the semi-trance one enters on a long train ride: "I feel as if I'm floating all of a sudden, the train is passing over a series of switches and is dancing, the lights of the countryside pirouette around us in a random ballet that makes me nauseous or is it the memory of the war".
After leaving Croatia he travels to Venice, la serinissima, but finds only adventure novels and nights filled with liquor and the war stories of a Lebanese exile.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are interested in the relation betweeen violence and art, the military conflicts of the last 100 years, and sentences that run for 500 pages, then this book is for youPublished 3 days ago by Esteban Brena
Great books teach you how to read them. A 500-plus page novel in a single sentence that spends a great deal of 20th-century Yugoslavian history while also referencing William... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Alan M