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My Beautiful Bus

Jacques Jouet | Translated by Eric Lamb | March 5, 2013

Poetic, comic, obsessed with minutiae, My Beautiful Bus is a welcome dose of serious frivolity at the expense of the contemporary novel. Based on an actual bus trip taken by Oulipo-member Jacques Jouet in the late '80s, his fictional reconstruction of the experience twenty years later focuses not so much on the scenery as on the possibilities offered an author by the eponymous vehicle and its occupants. With detours through everything from Puss in Boots to Pascal's maxims, we are introduced to each eccentric passenger as they climb aboard (one, for example, claims to have a corpse in his luggage), every character bringing us one step further into Jouet's imaginative universe: their conversations, preoccupations, reactions, and possibilities taking their places as elements of a fiction in the narrator's mind. In the final pages it becomes clear that the book itself is a sort of bus, boarded impulsively and with no fixed destination in mind, and that it has carried its readers to places they could not have imagined.

More info: Dalkey Archive

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