Raymond Queneau’s The Blue Flowers: one of the weirdest and wildest rides in literature. With as much colloquial language as Joyce and Pound, as much bawdy humor as Shakespeare and Chaucer, and as much puzzle-like wordplay as any of his fellow Oulipo brethren, Queneau gives us an idiosyncratic masterpiece to enjoy, to study, to wrestle with for the ages.

—Tyler Malone, Literary Hub

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

Available August 28, 2018

The Blue Flowers

Fiction by Raymond Queneau

Translated by Barbara Wright

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.

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published August 28, 2018)

ISBN
9780811227926
Price US
16.95
Price CN
21.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
244

Ebook (published August 28, 2018)

ISBN
9780811220859
Price US
16.95

Raymond Queneau

20th Century French experimentalist

Raymond Queneau’s The Blue Flowers: one of the weirdest and wildest rides in literature. With as much colloquial language as Joyce and Pound, as much bawdy humor as Shakespeare and Chaucer, and as much puzzle-like wordplay as any of his fellow Oulipo brethren, Queneau gives us an idiosyncratic masterpiece to enjoy, to study, to wrestle with for the ages.

—Tyler Malone, Literary Hub

Queneau’s tales are so clearly coded with respect to combinatory operations and corresponding sets that at least in The Blue Flowers the reader believes she could reconstruct the scheme that generated the story.

Boston Review