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Exercises in Style: 65th Anniversary Edition

Raymond Queneau | Translated by Barbara Wright & Chris Clarke

On a crowded bus at midday, Raymond Queneau observes one man accusing another of jostling him deliberately. When a seat is vacated, the first man appropriates it. Later, in another part of town, Queneau sees the man being advised by a friend to sew a new button on his overcoat. Exercises in Style, Queneu’s experimental masterpiece and a hallmark book of the OULIPO literary group, retells this unexceptional tale in ninety-nine exceptional ways, employing writing styles such as the sonnet and the alexandrine, onomatopoeia and even Cockney.

A 65th Anniversary Edition includes twenty-five exercises by Queneau never before published in English translated by Chris Clarke, as well as new exercises by contemporary writers Jesse Ball, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Ben Marcus, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Frederic Tuten, and Enrique Vila-Matas.

 

Reviews:

Exercises in Style was a revolution, a book that proclaimed its powerful ideas simply by pursuing their iron logic.”— Scott Esposito, Washington Post

“It will remind you of just how weird and infinite human language is.”— Bomb Magazine

Exercises in Style is an irresistibly simple and frequently hilarious demonstration of the potential of language.”— The Believer

“It’s fair to say that Exercises in Style turns the current thinking about writing entirely, and brilliantly, on its head.”— 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

 

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