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3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  204 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Meet Monsieur, your hero, a successful young executive in Paris whose
daily life you will follow in precise detail. He is nothing if not
unremarkable. Meet his secretary, his nieces, his fiancée and her
parents, his neighbor whose scientific reports Monsieur unwittingly
types out. What will happen? This and that. Monsieur will attend a
party. He will babysit. But most of all, M
Paperback, 108 pages
Published June 17th 2008 by Dalkey Archive Pr (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jun 11, 2012 knig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2012
The eponymous Monsieur wends his way down the Lazy River of life: unencumbered by Qualities, unconsummated by ambition, but concocted of Common and convivial of trite.

Toussaint glorifies a life most banal, a man so unassuming he isn’t assigned a name, a man who perambulates the torrents of the quotidian by bending ‘with the remover to remove’. Have I come across this trope before? A Nonesuch as Monsieur? An ode to the Sublime of Ordinary? No, no, and no: and thus, 5 stars for the novelty value.

A quiet little book, Monsieur is a series of vignettes that describes a brief time in the life of an introverted, quiet man. Monsieur is a man of set habits, mild speech, and socially awkward worries. Over the course of the story, several things occur that Monsieur seems to passively agree to let happen to him, with intermittently amusing results. Topics as diverse as the scientific properties of crystals, a lycee in Chartres before the war, physics and time and the soothing capacity of stars ar ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Nathanimal rated it it was amazing
There's something strange going on in Toussaint. I haven't quite put my finger on it yet, but I love it. Is it the accumulative effect of reading three of his books now, or is it this particular book — I find myself not just a happy reader anymore; I've become infected by Toussaint's peculiar turn of mind, and I need to get a little closer to understanding the main crisis at work in his stories. (Is there a main crisis?) My theory is that this book is a reaction to the mundane rituals and langua ...more
Toussaint's unassuming hero--known only as Monsieur--embodies what Taoism terms the "uncarved block." Apparently simple-minded and utterly passive, he nevertheless keeps his head above water without effort and comes out of even the worst situations displaying a mystifying sense of contentment. He's a little bit Winnie-the-Pooh, a little bit silent film comedian, and all enigma.
May 28, 2008 Greg rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, dalkey
Very French. Cold and impersonal for most of the book, but interesting it it's strangely disinterested manner of delving deeply into the life of a person only known in the book as Monsieur. Like Beckett in someways, but with science thrown in, which I think is supposed to be important, but I just didn't spend enough time thinking about the ramifications of quantum theory on the narrative structure of the book. My loss I'm sure.
MJ Nicholls
A charming story evoking The Stranger, with more whimsy and less existential meat.
Dec 18, 2015 Sean added it
Shelves: 2015, dalkey-archive

For some reason this sent me into an unforeseen spiral of despair over the futility of the star rating system. So no stars for you, Monsieur. (But I did like you.)
Jun 02, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Euro fic fans, people who don't like to laugh in public, cheese eaters

(This review originally appeared on the literay weblog The Elegant Variation on June 16, 2008 aka Bloomsday, which is why it repeatedly references James Joyce's Ulysses.)

Although June 16 is called Bloomsday after the chief protagonist of James Joyce’s modernist masterpiece, you could be forgiven for forgetting about poor old Leopold.

After all, Ulysses’ first hundred pages or so are dominated by Stephen Dedalus, a stretch so stylistically baroque many readers skip ahead to Molly Bloom’s saucy mon
Knappe, minimalistische vertelling over een slome moderne man zonder wil of wilskracht. Er gebeurt weinig of niets in deze roman, maar Toussaint slaagt er op wonderlijke wijze toch in de aandacht van de lezer vast te houden. Ik zag ooit - met plezier - de film die Toussaint maakte van zijn eigen roman: dus toen ik een tijd terug tijdens het boekenjagen de roman in handen kreeg, graaide ik die meteen mee. Boek en film, dik in orde.
Sep 20, 2016 Natasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Monsieur just seems to drift through life doing what other people want him to, which leads to him moving apartment and also assisting to write a book about minerals.
Peter Zuppardo
Oct 27, 2012 Peter Zuppardo rated it it was amazing
Afuckingmazing. "At the office, when things weren't busy, Monsieur went downstairs to the cafeteria and read the paper. Across from him in the glass entrance hall, here and there, small flower pots boasted benjamina or papyrus, and two or three receptionists, quite another matter, talked on the telephone behind the circular counter. Often, before going back up to his office, Monsieur, going round the counter, good afternoon ladies, stood for a while in front of the aquarium and watched the fish ...more
Memed Koz
Bir iki durum komedisi an ve diyalog var, fena olmayan. Ama kitabın bütününü sevemedim, okurken pek keyif alamadım. Bu kitaptan 45 dk'lık absürt Fransız filmi çıkar, o kadar. Filmi seyredersin belki ama kitap benim açımdan iyi değil.
Bugüne değin hep beğeneceğimi bildiğim kitaplar aldım, burada da yıldızlar verirken bonkör davrandım o yüzden. Bu kitabı Ayrıntı Yayınları'nın indirimli kitaplar kampanyası içinde 1.5 TL olarak (yazıyla birbuçuk) gördüğüm için almıştım.
İsteyene kargo ile hediye
Sep 07, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing
A dead-pan comedy about an apparently affectless man, Monsieur, a cipher who seemingly is buffeted along the course of his life, often passively giving in to demands placed upon him by strangers, family members, and his employer. But Monsieur is intelligent, if befuddled by the need to speak and act. His work has been apparently compared to that of Beckett and Jarmusch, and rightfully so: all is absurdity. And yet, for Monsieur, in the end, once can still find melancholy joy.
Matthew Thompson
Nov 15, 2010 Matthew Thompson rated it really liked it
The distinctly uneventful narrative of a nameless protagonist's day-to-day-to-day routine. Monsieur, who stumbles into situation after situation without control or ill-will is a kind of silent comedian here as he somersaults through the storyline, each tumble more absurd than the last. Major plot lines include a bruised arm, some serious ping-pong playing, and inadvertently co-authoring an unfinished book on mineralogy. For fans of Jim Jarmusch, Talking Heads lyrics and Jacques Tati's Mr. Hulot
Adam Dalva
May 14, 2016 Adam Dalva rated it liked it
Not my favorite of Toussaint's - it lacks the romance and wanderlust of his best novellas - but, as ever, his writing is hypnotic and his eye toward crafting scenes is excellent. There are some charming surprises in this lean narrative, which is a bit like The Mezzanine mixed with Bartelby the Scrivener, though not quite as thrilling as that combination sounds. For the completionists.
Pelin Okumuş
Jan 19, 2016 Pelin Okumuş rated it really liked it
Kendi küçük dünyasına sıkışmış bireyın yavaş ve yalnız ilerleyen yaşamından bir kesit anlatıyor kitap.
Herşey olması gerektiği gibi ...İşi evi nişanlısı ...Dayatılan seylere pasif direniş ise sandalyeye oturup oylece durma süresinin atması ile oluyor.

Mar 17, 2009 Paul rated it did not like it
Gave up. What passes for Taoist acceptance is called boredom in my house. Dull. Not recommended. Read Raymond Carver instead.
Jan 18, 2013 Dina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Objectively, it is well written and concise.

But I guess I just didn't like that style and while I like concise---I felt that it was maybe too concise for me to get it.
Jeff Bursey
Sep 06, 2013 Jeff Bursey rated it liked it
For my review of this and Camera, as well as The Customer is Always Wrong (by someone else), go here:
Aug 07, 2012 Pascale rated it liked it
Another strange little book, like a snapshot into a small world of restraint and deliberate thought, the story of a man and of his evasive activities. In French.
Mar 05, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
An unassuming fellow known only as Monsieur does nothing particularly remarkable, but Toussaint is able to make this anti-hero and fascinating and witty protagonist.
Natalie rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2015
Serge rated it really liked it
Sep 05, 2007
Kamdine rated it really liked it
Mar 05, 2009
Jason rated it it was amazing
Feb 17, 2013
Tomislav rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2013
An-na rated it liked it
Dec 03, 2010
Nurper rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2013
David Rae
David Rae rated it liked it
Mar 18, 2011
Emily rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2015
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Jean-Philippe Toussaint (born 29 November, 1957, Brussels) is a Belgian prose writer and filmmaker. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and he has had his photographs displayed in Brussels and Japan. Toussaint won the Prix Médicis in 2005 for his novel Fuir. The 2006 book La mélancolie de Zidane (Paris: Minuit, 2006) is a lyrical essay on the headbutt administered by the ...more
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