The Blue Flowers

The Blue Flowers

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Overview

A romp through the ages, by a writer “who inspires newsletters, fan clubs, and passionate exegeses” (Michael Dirda, The Washington Post)

The Blue Flowers follows two unlikely characters: Cidrolin, who alternates between drinking and napping on a barge parked along the Seine in the 1960s, and the Duke d’Auge as he rages through history—about 700 years of it—refusing to crusade, clobbering his king with a cannon, and dabbling in alchemy. But is it just a coincidence that the Duke appears only when Cidrolin is dozing? And vice versa? As Raymond Queneau explains: “There is an old Chinese saying: ‘I dream that I am a butterfly and pray there is a butterfly dreaming he is me.’ The same can be said of the characters in this novel—those who live in the past dream of those who live in the modern era—and those who live in the modern era dream of those who live in the past.” Channeling Villon and Céline, Queneau attempts to bring the language of the French streets into common literary usage, and his mad wordplays, puns, bawdy jokes, and anachronistic wackiness have been kept amazingly and glitteringly intact by the incomparable translator Barbara Wright.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811227926
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Raymond Queneau (1903-1976) is acknowledged as one of the most influential of modern French writers, having helped determine the shape of twentieth-century French literature, especially in his role with the Oulipo, a group of authors that includes Italo Calvino, Georges Perec, and Harry Mathews, among others.

Barbara Wright has translated several Raymond Queneau novels; indeed, as John Updike wrote in The New Yorker, she "has waltzed around the floor with the Master so many times by now that she follows his quirky French as if the steps were in English." She has also translated works by Alain Robbe-Grillet, Robert Pinget, Nathalie Sarraute, and Marguerite Duras. She lives in London.

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