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Sunday of Life

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  143 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The Sunday of Life, the late Raymond Queneau's tenth novel, was first published in French by Gallimard in 1951 and is now appearing for the first time in this country. In the ingenuous ex-Private Valentin Bru, the central figure in The Sunday of Life, Queneau has created that oddity in modern fiction, the Hegelian naif. Highly self-conscious yet reasonably satisfied with h ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 2002 by Calder Publications (first published 1952)
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Apr 21, 2014 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queneau
The Sunday of Life begins with two great epigraphs:
"The characters of this novel being real, any resemblance they may bear to imaginary individuals must be purely fortuitous."

" is the Sunday of life, which levels everything, and rejects everything bad; men gifted with such good humor cannot be fundamentally bad or base."-Hegel

Queneau's portrait of the good-humored "Hegelian naif" sees to both tasks, instilling real life catastrophe (life in Bordeaux and then in Paris during 1936-1940) with
MJ Nicholls
This, Queneau’s fourth last (or sixteenth) novel, preceding the blockbusting supersmash Zazie dans la metro, is standard fare from the OuLiPo founder and mathematical whizz. Valentin Brû is one of Queneau’s ‘everymen’ who takes up with a woman twice his age to help run a picture frame shop. As usual, there are zippy, tricky plots with characters flicking in and out, little comments on the act of writing and language games a-go-go. Somehow it didn’t take off for me like Pierrot or Witch Grass, pr ...more
Aug 11, 2010 Brad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oulipo, favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
There are many things that could be written about the French novelist, Raymond Queneu, who died in 1976, but that would detract from the things I want to write about The Sunday of Life.

The Sunday of Life is a silly, penetrating, witty novel about nothing much colliding with nothing much and yet retaining the reader's interest because the characters are so salty, impassive, greedy, envious, clever, and dotty.

A middle-aged woman sees a soldier pass her shop every day. The soldier, Valentin, is abo
Świętosław Brzenczyszczykiewicz
The question of the key to the Sunday of Life. Is it a roman à clef?
Upon finishing it an hour ago, and supposing 1951 at least a few years before Oulipo, I want to think there is a trick going on under the prose.
First bet: is it's a to-do about Hegelian triads and syntheses.
The glum inspector Torinoli (Torinini?) questions Valentin whether 2 couldn't be 3, in the half-remembered style of things Queneau so clinches with the Bretougats (Rratogas? Brutegas?). Of course the antithesis, 2, merges
Mar 15, 2013 Rand rated it liked it
Recommends it for: VOUS
Book sat on my shelf for over ten years so I decided to give it a second chance, after giving up maybe eight years ago because it starts slow. Guess I started slow instead?

Book was funny when linguistic fuddy-duddies are referred to as "cunts" and there were other, more developed situations of funny business that I shan't spoil here.

My favorite part is the inscription (after the copyright page) which states that "The characters of this novel being real, any resemblance they may bear to imaginar
Dec 18, 2015 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, new-directions

Appropriately named, this novel unfurls like a lazy Sunday afternoon as it follows the domestic life of former army private Valentin Brû. The confidence of Queneau's storytelling always impresses me. He makes his craft seem effortless, and as such I never feel any qualms about immediately abandoning myself into his capable hands. Queneau is also good for cleansing the reading palate once it's become sullied by lesser prose. There's not much point in discussing the finer details of this book here
Gijs Grob
Lichtvoetige en blijmoedige roman over de simpele soldaat Valentin Brû, en zijn vrouw, de oude vrijster Julia, in een achtergrond van de naderende tweede wereldoorlog. De roman bevat enkele komische situaties, maar draait vooral om de gesprekken van simpele mensen, met veel fonetisch opgeschreven spreektaal. Jammergenoeg eindigt de roman nogal abrupt, wanneer de oorlog daadwerkelijk uitbreekt.
May 29, 2016 David rated it liked it
Shelves: oui-oui
Some genuinely funny/witty Queneau-isms here, but overall perhaps just more of the same from Ray. Always impressed with good translations of the Oulipo crew.
May 18, 2015 Sara rated it liked it
Charming with great characters, but I got the sense that the best jokes were lost in translation.
Nora Dillonovich
Nov 16, 2008 Nora Dillonovich rated it really liked it
such fun. Queneau is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.
more french stuff
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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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