The Princess Hoppy: Or, the Tale of Labrador

The Princess Hoppy: Or, the Tale of Labrador

by Jacques Roubaud
     
 

A postmodern fairy tale might best describe Jacques Roubaud's delightful book The Princess Hoppy, or The Tale of Labrador. How else to describe a novel that reads like an Arthurian romance as rewritten by Lewis Carroll, with enough math puzzles to keep the game reader busy with a calculator for months? The tale concerns a princess, her faithful dog (who

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Overview

A postmodern fairy tale might best describe Jacques Roubaud's delightful book The Princess Hoppy, or The Tale of Labrador. How else to describe a novel that reads like an Arthurian romance as rewritten by Lewis Carroll, with enough math puzzles to keep the game reader busy with a calculator for months? The tale concerns a princess, her faithful dog (who happens to be a wiz at math), four royal uncles always plotting, four royal aunts always potting, a lovesick hedgehog named Bartleby, two camels named North Dakota and South Dakota, four ducks who double as boats (thus called doats), and an amphibious blue whale named Barbara to name only a few. (Even the Sun has a speaking role.) There are dramatic abductions, daring rescues, passages in hitherto untranscribed languages (Dog, Grasshopper, Duck), tales of unrequited love, allegorical interludes, poems, a playlet, and much more. (But no suspenders, the author promises.) Finally, there are 79 questions for readers of the novel, to see how closely they've been paying attention--?for ultimately The Princess Hoppy is a giddy inquiry into how we read literary works. It is both an old-fashioned tale and an ultramodern hypertext, the oldest and the latest thing in fiction.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Exhilarating.... [T]he chief pleasures of this book are its narrative inventiveness and vigorously related amusing parodies, excellently translated by Bernard Hoepffner. Mr. Roubaud is a vivid and charming writer who seems to smile as he makes esthetic and philosophical points about the autonomy of fiction and the illusory nature of destiny. He is, moreover, highly proficient at various forms of humor, from the silly to the sophisticated. When he does satirize the vanities of society, his touch is light and never meanspirited." -- New York Times Book Review

Dalkey Archive Press

"A zany jeu d'esprit." -- Washington Post Book World

Dalkey Archive Press

"One of the strangest books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading completely and finding that I had not quite fully understood just what it is I was reading is Jacques Roubaud's The Princess Hoppy.... Roubaud takes advantage of language,... expectations of heroic fairy tales, and postmodern perspective to create a story rife with intrigue, suspense, and mathematical puzzles. The Princess Hoppy is an irreverent trip through out collective consciousness, with elements familiar to everyone, but with a bizarre twist, making us realize just how it is we go about reading stories. I have found the story to be educational... and simultaneously fabulously entertaining. This is one book that will be read many times and recommended as a positive and fun read." -- Texture #6

Dalkey Archive Press

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Roubaud ( The Great Fire of London ) is a member of the Oulipo group of experimental writers whose best-known members include Raymond Queneau and Georges Perec. Like theirs, Roubaud's work is in the playful post-modernist vein. Unfortunately, in this novella, that playfulness is strained almost beyond endurance. This is a slight, almost plotless farce, compounded of romantic/chivalric cliches, math and logic problems and elements from children's literature. The title character is a sweet young princess whose four uncles, all kings, engage in endless and seemingly pointless conspiracies, governed by the incomprehensibly tangled ``rule of St. Benedict.'' Her most loyal retainer is a dog, who speaks in Dog. A lovesick astronomer from Baghdad makes a lengthy appearance. There is a profusion of polyglot punning, malapropisms and literary references that range from a dying king named Uther Pendragon to a hedgehog named Bartleby. The entire drearily unfunny jumble is narrated by ``the tale'' itself, a conceit as irritating as the relentlessly coy tone in which it is executed. Hoepffner's translation, however, is admirable in its efficiency, especially given the linguistic complexity of the material. (Sept.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564780324
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.43(d)

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