The Blue Flowers
|Author:||Raymond Queneau; Barbara Wright|
"Queneau is a unique example of a wise and intelligent writer who always goes against the grain of the dominant terndencies of his age and of French culture in particular - and he combines this with an endless need to invent and test possibilities. The Blue Flowers makes fun of history , denying its progress and reducing it to the substance of daily existence." - Italo Calvino
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.