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Place Names: A Brief Guide to Travels in the Book

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  15 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Which came first, words or things? Are your words yours, or someone else's? And what do the Crusades have to do with it? And what do ants have to do with it?

Jean Ricardou has been given something of a bad rap: he's widely seen as a difficult writer, or worse yet, as an intensely serious one. However, he easily sheds this weighty reputation in his hilariously playful new no
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Paperback, 126 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Dalkey Archive Press
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Jonfaith
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Place Names proves to be oh so Dalkey -- too cool for school, by far. The novel is immensely French and is a layered masterpiece of games, repetitions and metaphors. Ricardou's erudition reaches into history and plumbs entomology and geometry to keep the reader honest. Acting as an opposition between the guide book and the novel, the narrative slinks off the established paths, offering as a tithe both vistas of beauty and a knotted enigma which conceals madness and worse. No spoilers here, but P ...more
Benito Jr.
Nov 20, 2010 rated it liked it
It's hard not to like the premise of this nouveau roman: a playful philosophical inquiry into Saussurean linguistics, a travel guide, an obsessive catalog of gestures, a discourse on ants and a whodunit about art (though the "who," the "done," and the "it" are all in question, one might say) all in one slim volume. But there's not much depth to all this cleverness; in the end it seems all structural tomfoolery.
Tuck
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
a tricky, entertaining, funny, and show-offy (author twists the human and physical geography into a seemingly endless braid one could never hope to unbraid, but he actually does, and combs it out to lustre and individuality) short novel with sides into art, ants, and sexual attraction. and of course grotesqueries. highly recommended for those who need a laugh.
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