Amazon.com Review A twentysomething bus rider with a long, skinny neck and a goofy hat accuses another passenger of trampling his feet; he then grabs an empty seat. Later, in a park, a friend encourages the same man to reorganize the buttons on his overcoat. In Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style, this determinedly pointless scenario unfolds 99 times in twice as many pages. Originally published in 1947 (in French), these terse variations on a theme are a wry lesson in creativity. The story is told as an official letter, as a blurb for a novel, as a sonnet, and in 'Opera English.' It's told onomatopoetically, philosophically, telegraphically, and mathematically. The result, as translator Barbara Wright writes in her introduction, is 'a profound exploration into the possibilities of language.' I'd say it's a refresher course of sorts, but it's more like a graduate seminar. After all, how many of us are familiar with terms such as litote, alexandrine, apheresis, and epenthesis in the first place? Read more Review Exercises in Style was a revolution, a book that proclaimed its powerful ideas simply by pursuing their iron logic. ? The Washington PostWhat makes the book compelling is seeing this same, banal tale told through a huge variety of literary styles, from science fiction to rhyme, haiku to official letter. The variety in its repetition becomes at first odd, then hilarious as more and more absurd forms are chosen. ? The Huffington PostThis witty, bizarre read is perfect for dipping into, or reading from cover to cover, for anybody who loves storytelling. ? The Huffington PostIt will remind you of just how weird and infinite human language is. ? Raphael Rubinstein (BOMBlog)Exercises in Style?is?an irresistibly simple and frequently hilarious demonstration of the potential of language. ? The Believer LoggerIt?s fair to say that?Exercises in Style?turns the current thinking about writing entirely, and brilliantly, on its head. ? Yuka Igarashi (The New Inquiry)It?s a testament to Queneau?s ability as a writer, and just as interestingly, it sort of blows apart the idea of how many ways a story can be told?and how style can be more important than content. ? Chad W. Post (Three Percent) Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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