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Double or Nothing

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Double or Nothing is a concrete novel in which the words become physical materials on the page. Federman gives each of these pages a shape or structure, most often a diagram or picture. The words move, cluster, jostle, and collide in a tour de force full of puns, parodies, and imitations. Within these startling and playful structures Federman develops two characters and tw ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Fiction Collective 2 (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  170 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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by page 50 I’m ready to throw my hand in
I mean 50 pages is a fair investment
what couldn’t I do with 50 pages of beckett
but 50 pages of lists and typographical jokes
perhaps that’s where the challenge lies
finding something to say about a list of lists
though admittedly slightly more than that really
it's a book about a man recording the attempt by a second man to write a book about a third man on his way to the united states by boat who may or may not be the first man or the second man or b
Vit Babenco
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Any author is a trinity: the Holy Spirit – thinker, the Father – doer, the Son – protagonist, and writing a book is a process of creating a world.
It is essential indeed that the second person allows nothing to interfere with his plans however irresponsible these might be, and that the first person persists in his stubborn and determined recording, and that finally the third person do nothing, nothing but wait to see what will happen to him and to the others who are involved with him.

There is a p
MJ Nicholls
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I RE-READ THIS MASTERPIECE. BOW DOWN, MORTALS. I REPEAT MY ORIGINAL REVIEW: This is the most astonishing use of typographical innovation in a text I have ever seen. Search me for hyperbole. Contenders for that crown include such luminaries as Alasdair Gray in 1982 Janine, B.S. Johnson in House Mother Normal, Christine Brooke-Rose in Thru, and a dozen others whose innovations escape me at this exact moment, but Federman builds his entire novel around his meticulously arranged page-by-page noodlin ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Double or Nothing: a real fictitious discourse is Federman’s famous Noodle Novel. Read a little into Federman’s various books and you will hear him say something about it. An editor in Paris famously thought it was too “autobiographical”, too “self-reflexive”. But you should find those passages where Federman gives that flunky editor the what’s-what. Of course it’s “autobiographical” -- show me fiction that’s not; all is, hence none is, etc -- and of course it’s “self-reflexive”, how else can yo ...more
Anthony Vacca
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Raymond Federman has created with his first novel, Double or Nothing, a fully-realized work of art about never creating one’s fully-realized work of art. A meta-fictional masterpiece with a typographical wonder to be found on every page, this novel lucidly presents the fairly convoluted set-up of a compulsive gambler who decides to hole himself up in a cheap apartment for 365 days exactly, living sparingly off of nothing but noodles and cigarettes while he writes a novel about a recently-orphane ...more
Stephen P(who no longer can participate due to illness)
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Stephen by: Nathan N.R. Gaddis
Shelves: favorites

A man plans on renting a cheap room at $8/day for 365 days. He will be locking himself inside spending 7-12 hrs/day writing a novel. It is the day before. He frets. Planning out a list of all the purchases of all the necessities needed-he will live on noodles- it continuously lengthens. He lists also in his mind the ideas for his unformed story. This brings the creative world of fiction into the mundane activities of the world out of a desperate fear of, not being up to the task, losing himself
Nate D
This is a difficult book to describe without its sounding like a parody of terminal postmodernism, but it succeeds brilliantly. Perhaps it's brilliant precisely because it manages to pull so much out of pushing familiar postmodern gestures to breaking point. In an ultimate act of self-reflexivity, this is the story of an AUTHOR documenting an OBSERVER of the thoughts of a WRITER preparing to seal himself into a room for a year in order to finally, without distractions, tell the story of a CHARAC ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Federman takes an original and very clever approach to writing about his experience escaping the holocaust and emigrating to America. Although an otherwise very different novel, Double or Nothing reminded me in spirit of Slaughterhouse-Five, in the difficulty both novels had in confronting trauma directly. Federman's use of typography was, I believe, innovative at the time, though similar approaches have been employed since then, and so much of the novelty for me had (unfairly) already worn off. ...more
M. Sarki
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Gladly, it is over. I do believe that as time passes I will appreciate more my reading of this most-original book. But for now brand me burned, rightly forgiven, and smoldering on the stake.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
NOODLES !SELDOON dnA .ylimaf eht lla rof semag dna nuf cihpargopyT .esruoc fo ,emosewa si siht lleW
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's unfortunate that with such an illustrious legacy including Mallarme and dada, typographic experimentation has become little more than the standard operating procedure of advertising. Few SERIOUS authors dare it lest they appear spotlight-starved and branded "gimmicky." (Is the science in on Danielewski yet?*) Where is the line that separates comics, graphic novels, and literature? I surmise at The

Once upon a time, experimentation included not just the form of the sentence or the re
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: federmania, immortal
Double or nothing can be said about the greatness, originality, execution, and exquisitely-humane timbre of this flaming star disguised as book. Nor does it need to be.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A typographical masterwork.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Double or Nothing is the definitive 'novel about writing a novel'.

Instead of dealing in the known formula for this type of fiction, this delves head first into the visceral experience of the whole process.
Our protagonist is writing a novel (or recording the actions of) a writer planning his next 365 days in order to write a novel, about the first year in America of a refugee. All this, with the smoothest finesse.
Part heavy logistics (what is needed physically to support the writing of a novel),
Jul 22, 2011 added it
i am crap at keeping these updates. but i do still get notices and i am told what others are reading all the time, and well it keeps me on my toes/
this federman book is an astounding exercise in avant-garde experiment writing (?) graphical enterprise.. audacious
Δημήτρης Μαύρος
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
4/5 (85%)

This is an antinovel, not merely in the sense that it is an immensely experimental work which it is, but also in that the text actually and constantly refuses to become a novel. There is the recorder person A who records what the inventor person B was preparing to do during a year long self-isolation when he person B that is was supposed to write a book about a young Jewish immigrant person C who travels to America after WWII. And all this is of course presented by the author that woul

May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
8 dollars gets you/us a NOODLE REVIEW . . .


. . . But 7 dollars could get you MORE THAN NOODLES!
Alejandro Gastañadui
“Noodle Reality” como reflejo de un discurso ficticio verdadero, no guarda silencio en la frondosidad de la experiencia tipográfica que está reluciente narración visual nos muestra sobre y bajo el texto, haciendo del discurso un juego de posiciones divertido en su extrema rigurosidad.
Estás “des”-realidades no necesitan traducción, fluyen introduciéndose, ¿o será que se introducen fluyendo?

Graham Boswell
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Immensely fun and meta in all the best ways. Don’t let the weirdness of this book deter you! It only gets hard in the last 100 or so pages, and even then, it’s a delightful novel replete with invention and the joy of creativity.
Roger Green
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, as with everything else I've read by Federman, is brilliant and creatively inspiring. ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Reading this gave me a headache.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A book that was entirely fun to read!! Completely different from anything I’ve ever read!
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017, read-2018
3 stars is too low for this book. It is a game changer and an innovator and absolutely mind-blowing by the end. It could also have stood to be 150 pages shorter.

In Double or Nothing, the first person decides to write about the second person, who is going to lock themselves in a room for 365 days to write a novel about the 3rd person, a 19yo frenchman immigrating to America after the Holocaust. This is to say nothing of the 4th person. What follows is a novel, sure, but one that is heavily autob
Kai Weber
If you are a writer yourself or if you would like to be one, then poetological fiction is probably something you're interested in. Every system needs and creates some meta-discourse.
Ten years ago I probably would have said, that readers are part of the literature system, and therefore also naturally interested in poetological literature. I would still say, that readers are part of the literature system, but I'm basically a bit bored by the genre discussed here. If a writer writes a book about wr
Ramon Sunico
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-favorite
The German translation of Federman's Double or Nothing,this is another example of Die Andere Bibliothek's wonderfully crafted letterpress books. ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was very clever.
Paul Mannino
rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jan 25, 2008
rated it it was ok
Aug 08, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2010
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Raymond Federman was a French–American novelist and academic, known also for poetry, essays, translations, and criticism. He held positions at the University at Buffalo from 1973 to 1999, when he was appointed Distinguished Emeritus Professor. Federman was a writer in the experimental style, one that sought to deconstruct traditional prose. This type of writing is quite prevalent in his book Doubl ...more

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