Raymond Queneau: Exercises in Style

No, this isn’t the Kama Sutra: But it can be, if you enjoy the art of making love with words and trying out different positions with them. 

A more conservative comparison: If classical music has Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, literature has Queneau’s Exercises in Style.

The truth: I had no idea who Queneau was. I’ve come across NYRBs with his name on them, but I only grabbed this book because I’ve enjoyed the works of both Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino. (It must mean something when two outstanding Italians endorse the work of a Frenchman!) The former wrote the foreword and this edition features an essay by the latter, with a prescient first line directed to me, “Who is Raymond Queneau?”

Well, now I know Raymond Queneau: The first man who has managed to make me chuckle all the way while reading an entire book! This was just delightful! It is a retelling of the same short story in different styles that simply renders some books on writing and reading irrelevant — while making the reader laugh.

To those who love to read and write a bit, or write a lot: If this isn’t on your shelf yet, there’s an empty spot where Exercises in Style is supposed be. 😘

6 thoughts on “Raymond Queneau: Exercises in Style”

      1. I think after “.. Lemon Trees Grow” I’ll need a happy book to be read in a hammock in an overwater bungalow after a private therapy session. Lol. Im about to pick it up and continue reading now… part of me is excited and cant wait to read, the other part dreads what happens next. I can’t take anymore of the heartache!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. On a serious note though… I’m halfway through a book that is just blowing me away. Have you read “As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow” by Zoulfa Katouh? By god it is one of the best books I have ever read. From soaring heights of hope to crushing blows. I cried so much last night my husband was concerned. Set in Syria so you can imagine…. I think you would love this book! X

    Liked by 1 person

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