Saint Glinglin

Raymond Queneau, Author, James Sallis, Translator
Raymond Queneau, Author, James Sallis, Translator Dalkey Archive Press $19.95 (169p) ISBN 978-1-56478-027-0
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-2-07-029151-9
Paperback - 169 pages - 978-1-56478-230-4
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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( Zazie dans le metro ) has created a world, starting with its banalities: the cliches, the tired small talk, the outdated prejudices, the little points of pride.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. (July)
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