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Exercises in Style

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  6,252 Ratings  ·  473 Reviews
The plot of Exercises in Style is simple: a man gets into an argument with another passenger on a bus. However, this anecdote is told 99 more times, each in a radically different style, as a sonnet, an opera, in slang, and with many more permutations. This virtuoso set of variations is a linguistic rust-remover, and a guide to literary forms.
Paperback, 204 pages
Published February 17th 1981 by New Directions (first published 1947)
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From what point of view should I review the book? Evidently: from all possible points of view.


Needless to say, I am reading the original French edition. I can hardly believe that his delicate linguistic irony would survive translation into English. Quelle horreur!


I laughed until I wet myself. Well, I should know better than to read this kind of book in the bathroom.


If nothing else, very educational. I have already learned the names of two figures of speech I didn't prev
Glenn Russell
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books

On the platform, pla pla pla, of a bus, chuff chuff, chuff, which was an S (and singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest), it was about noon, ding dang dong, ding dang dong, a ridiculous ephebus, poof, poof, who had one of those hats, pooh, suddenly turned (twirl twirl), on his neighbour angrily, grrh, grrh, and said, hm hm: "You are purposely josling me, Sir," Ha ha. - Exercises in Style, Raymond Queneau

One very effective way I have found to squeeze the juice of wisdom from the books I
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Only one book has ever “changed my life” (god, if only things were so simple that a book could change your life!) and that is Joyce’s Ulysses, and that only in terms of my ideas of dedication and rigor. It certainly didn’t unearth profound aspects of my personality that until that point were latent, it didn’t give me any guiding path in life to tread, it didn’t suddenly instill value into things that I before considered to be without value. What it primarily did was to show me the results of ded ...more
Scribble Orca
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Scribble by: Barbara Wright
UPDATE: Queneau's Exercises in Style is given the Geoff Wilt treatment in Verbivoracious Festschrift Volume Three: The Syllabus.

-- Who the fuck writes the same thing 99 times over? Pretentious twit! Don't bother.

-- A masterpiece of style, grammar, innovation, elegance, a tour de force of wizardry, erudition, humour and social commentary. Chapeau M'sieur Queneau.

-- I didn't really get the headings. Were those meant to be chapters?

-- Mate, don't be late, address the great and adumbrate, there'll b
Nickolas the Kid
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: easy-to-read, funny
Το βιβλίο αυτό ήταν σκέτη απόλαυση!


- Οτ λιβλιο ταυτό νατη τέσκη λαυπόαση
- Το βιβλίο ναούμ, ήταν σκέτη ναουμ απόλαυση ναούμ...
- Το αντικείμενο με το σκληρό εξώφυλλο και τα φύλλα με γράμματα προκάλεσε τέρψη οφθαλμών και σκέψης...

Κάπως έτσι λοιπόν ο συγγραφέας παραλλάσει την ιστορία ενός νεαρού σε ένα λεωφορείο και δημιουργεί 99 διαφορετικού τύπου ιστορίες, οι οποίες είναι απολαυστικές και αναδεικνύουν το μεγαλείο της γλώσσας και της συγγραφής!!!

4/5 αστεράκια. Το διάβασα απν
This is a lot of fun at the beginning as you realise exactly what Queneau has challenged himself to do here: rewrite the same little scene about a gangly young man in a badly fitting overcoat and an odd hat, in different styles, ninety-nine times! After number twenty however, the various word play games are no longer quite as funny. After number forty, you’re pretty sceptical about Queneau's mental health. By number sixty, you’re seriously worried about your own. By number eighty, you’re seeing ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye

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MJ Nicholls

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Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it

Pearls before a swine? Perhaps.

It definitely takes a lot of talent for someone to tell one completely unremarkable story 99 times and still make a fun and readable book out of it. What Queneau (and the translator) has done here is really clever work, no doubt. And I can imagine this whole exercise must have been very amusing for him. But that doesn't mean reading it will be just as enjoyable as writing it was.**

These are exercises in writing in English (originally French). I do have some working
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ενα εξαιρετικά πρωτότυπο ανάγνωσμα όπου ο συγγραφέας χρησιμοποιεί 99 διαφορετικούς τρόπους να εκφράσει μια ανούσια μικρή ιστορία. Μπορεί κανείς να το διαβάσει σε 10 διαφορετικά μέρη, σαλόνι, κουζίνα, αναγνωστήριο, τουαλέτα κλπ. καθώς και με άπειρους τρόπους ανάσκελα, καθιστά, όρθια, τρέχοντας, περπατώντας κλπ. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον αν κάποιος σκέφτεται να ξεκινήσει τη συγγραφή βιβλίου ή να κάνει καριέρα στην πολιτική. Εν κατακλείδι το ξεκίνησα με μεγάλη χαρά και ενδιαφέρον, κάπου στη μέση άρχισα να γυ ...more
I feel like this book's high average rating is caused mostly by the fact that the only people who would even know about it are the sort of people who'd like it. So, though I didn't hate it completely, I'm here to offer a dissenting opinion:

This book kind of sucks.

It's a short, anticlimactic anecdote about a scuffle on a bus, told in 99 different styles. I imagine this is already enough to turn off most people, but in case this still sounds really good to you, be apprised that none of those styl
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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
More about Raymond Queneau...

Вендъж, олоко одеб, на зандата палтформа на енид авботус залебязах малдеж с перкалено дъгъл варт и шакпа, уркасена с върв. Неочавкано той обивни съесда си, че начорно го снатъпвал по карката. Но изгябвайки сканлада, той се врутна мък енда сбоводна селадка.
Вда сача по-кънсо го дивях отвоно перд гатара Нес Залар заендо с генов пирятел, тойко му вадаше съевти онтосно ендо покче.”

По пладне и по обед се качих и се намирах на платформата и на задната площадка в един автобус и градски рейс, пълен и претъпкан, по южната линия и от Контрескарп към Шампере. Аз и моя милост видях и забелязах един млад мъж и зрял юноша, твърде смешен и доста комичен, с кльощав врат и тънка шия, а около шапката и покрай капелата – с въженце и канапче. След настаналата суматоха и подир настъпилата бъркотия той каза и рече със сълзлив глас и плачлив тон, че неговият съсед и близкостоящ нарочно и умишлено го бутнал и блъснал, щом и колчем някой слизал или излизал. Като свърши словото си и приключи речта си, той се отправи и насочи към едно празно място и свободна седалка.
След два часа и подир сто и двайсет минути отново и пак го срещнах и видях на площад Ром и пред гара Сен Лазар, придружен и съпроводен от свой приятел и негов другар, който го съветваше и убеждаваше да прибави и зашие едно копче и кокалено търкалце на своята горна и връхна дреха и одежда.”
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