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The Last Days

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3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  178 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
The Last Days is Raymond Queneau's autobiographical novel of Parisian student life in the 1920s: Vincent Tuquedenne tries to reconcile his love for reading with the sterility of studying as he hopes to study his way out of the petite bourgeoisie to which he belongs. Vincent and his generation are contrasted with an older generation of retired teachers and petty crooks, and ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1936)
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The Third Policeman by Flann O'BrienWittgenstein's Mistress by David MarksonThe Recognitions by William GaddisThe Tunnel by William H. GassJ R by William Gaddis
Best Dalkey Archive Titles
40th out of 141 books — 63 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyOf Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Best Books of the Decade: 1930s
398th out of 457 books — 800 voters


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(showing 1-30 of 531)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 21, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
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Raymond Queneau

In the 1920s Raymond Queneau went to Paris for his final days of formal education. He kept a detailed journal of his time there and in 1936 he wrote this autobiographical novel based on those years as a student in Paris. Times had changed. In 1936 the threat of imminent war hung over Europe, and so even though he was writing about relatively carefree student days in Paris the tinge of the times he was experiencing in 1936 had an influence on the novel. Calling the 1920s The Last
...more
Stephen P
Feb 23, 2015 Stephen P rated it really liked it



Queneau reenters the Paris of his youth, the 1920's, though the novel was written in 1936, taking us by the hand to not only relive those years with him through his protagonist but to learn past the humor of his smile, the cool distance of the nib of his pen, the chilling conclusions he reached about the reality he found around and within him.

Tagging along with fellow students to the cafes of Paris in the 20's, socially inept, vaulted into a shyness by a well honed self-castigation, he listens t
...more
Jeff Jackson
Jan 09, 2013 Jeff Jackson rated it really liked it
I'm not sure why I plucked this off the shelf when there was a tall pile of books next to the bed I'd sworn to read first. Maybe subconsciously it had something to do with the ridiculous Mayan apocalypse -- I always liked how Queneau applied the concept of "The Last Days" to a time in his life that happened a decade before he wrote this. It's as if the novel was written after the end of the world -- and in a way it was.

The book captures a time that won't ever come again -- a truism that applies
...more
Geoff
Mar 26, 2012 Geoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: queneau
The Last Days is another fabulously good book by Raymond Queneau, who is fast becoming one of my favorite authors, and who I’m pretty sure can do anything he damn well wants with words, and does, though this one is a great deal more melancholy than others of his I’ve read, and this makes sense, as Queneau is writing semi-autobiographically about his own days as a university student in the 1920’s on the Left Bank of Paris (oh what a valentine this book is to post-WWI Paris!) and also because it i ...more
MJ Nicholls
A philosophical novel framed around an autobiographical coming-of-age tale set in 1920s Paris. The story follows the Queneau-template Tuquedenne, a loner who can’t get laid and who falls in love with ideas, and the aging hustler Brabbant, a charming desperado who likes his dames young.

Queneau weaves, with his particular humour and alchemy, multiple stories together, capturing a world in flux and the melancholy of late-adolescent life: the fleeting friends, frolics and finaglings. This world is
...more
Chuck LoPresti
Aug 19, 2013 Chuck LoPresti rated it liked it
Certainly less incendiary than Icarus and less transporting than Zazie. Take the autobiographical warnings to heart. Apart from small departures into word-play this seems like Queneau driving home the nails in the casket of his childhood. Queneau at his most straight-forward is still a green candlelight away from what we know as normalcy - and pleasantly so. This is a very brisk read, smart and insightful with a light touch. Where some of Q's books seem to have crawled out of his head whilst sle ...more
wally
Apr 18, 2016 wally rated it liked it
Shelves: queneau
started on the 15th april, finished the 18th. an okay story, good read. i liked it.

*note to self: in this one, too, like The Winter of the Black Snow couple characters have a theory for the weather, the big guns of the war, the war to end all wars, world war numbered one in tis story...unlike war number two for winter of the black snow. seems like there was another story that had this same idea floating...perhaps in the winter review. curious is all.

too...curious...a scene herein where the cha
...more
Emilie
Aug 12, 2013 Emilie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lemon-pie
On retrouve le style enjoué de Queneau, entre jeux de mots, écriture légère et néologismes. Beaucoup d'humour, d'auto-dérision (on suit entre autres les péripéties de Tuquedenne/Queneau étudiant - un type plutôt solitaire qui réfléchit sur tout mais n'arrive pas à vivre sa vie comme il l'aimerait, toujours en retrait) mais aussi de nostalgie. Les Derniers Jours nous rappelle le temps qui passe inexorablement, qui nous fait passer d'une étape de vie à une autre sans avoir le temps de nous retourn ...more
Juan Jiménez García
Raymond Queneau. Lo bello y lo triste

Saquemos los libros de historia a la calle… Un poco de historia nos vendrá bien: Raymond Queneau abandona Le Havre, lugar de nacimiento y desarrollo inicial. Deja allí su famoso puerto y sus famosos barcos con sus famosos marineros (leer Un duro invierno, inspirada por su padre) y se traslada a París para estudiar Filosofía en la Sorbona. Año 1920. Hacia 1924 empieza a frecuentar el movimiento surrealista, del que acabará formando parte hasta su abrupta ruptu
...more
Gigio
Nov 14, 2010 Gigio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uno dei primi libri di Queneau e già vi si possono trovare tracce dell'Autore che sarà.
Pur essendo considerato dalla critica come uno dei suoi testi meno riusciti risulta, comunque, godibile in un intreccio continuo di personaggi che si lambiscono l'un l'altro, ognuno ignorando il ruolo che gli altri ricoprono nelle quotidiane vicende che si susseguono.

Tra i diversi personaggi colpisce la crisi morale di un professore in pensione che scopre di aver millantato una conoscenza che non possedeva:

...more
Cooper Renner
May 06, 2014 Cooper Renner rated it really liked it
A strange and funny book--set in Paris in the '20s and focused on a few key characters in two groups, a handful of college students (including Queneau's alter ego), and a handful of old men. The two groups intersect because of family relationships and because one of the old men taught a couple of the college students. Nothing like more "serious" works like Sun Also Rises. The students eat, drink, talk and skirt-chase (sometimes in the brothels). The old men eat, drink, play billiards--and one of ...more
Cody
Sep 26, 2011 Cody rated it liked it
Shelves: modernism, france
A tale chock full of dualities, wherein characters, events, and themes find themselves paired with one another in manners that are at once complimentary and contrapuntal. Queneau is wonderful at imbuing a single moment with competing forces that, rather than cancel each other out, add nuance and complexity. An ordinary day in Queneau’s Paris is at once tragic and hopeful, bitter and hilarious.
Nathan
May 08, 2008 Nathan rated it really liked it
Makes boozing, whoring, Cubism, playing horses, and romanticizing Paris between wars seem unwholesome, petty, and antipathetic to Man's Destiny, but I liked it a lot. Plenty notable metaphors, even in translation, the best of which are kinda too crude to list here.
John
Nov 26, 2007 John rated it really liked it
being bored, antic, and smart as all get out in 1920s paris. what's to complain? anything by queaneau is worth the time just cause he's so damn smart and playful.
Patty
Jul 27, 2016 Patty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, novels, oulipians
as overtly misogynistic as kerouc's on the road. it's really turned me off to the rest of his work. :/
Derek
Nov 05, 2012 Derek rated it it was ok
talked about it some here: http://5cense.com/12/palermo_last.htm
Joseph
Jul 09, 2013 Joseph rated it liked it
Whimsical, a decent book
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Queneau was born in Le Havre in 1903 and went to Paris when he was 17. For some time he joined André Breton's Surrealist group, but after only a brief stint he dissociated himself. Now, seeing Queneau's work in retrospect, it seems inevitable. The Surrealists tried to achieve a sort of pure expression from the unconscious, without mediation of the author's self-aware "persona." Queneau's texts, on ...more
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“The only advantage he could see in the change was that he had a small desk in his room; his capacity for isolation was thereby increased. But none of this changed his life very much. He continued his games of billiards and his reading. And was periodically overwhelmed by abominable fits of despair from which he was abruptly extricated by a ridiculous but stubborn optimism, an absurd love of life.” 0 likes
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