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Odile : Roman
 
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Raymond Queneau
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Odile : Roman

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  208 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Fiction. First published in France in 1937, this brilliant, moving novel is about the devastating psychological effects of war, about falling in love, about politics subverting human relationships, and about life in Paris during the early 1930s amid intellectuals and artists whose activities range from writing for radical magazines to conjuring the ghost of Lenin in seance ...more
Published (first published 1937)
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Geoff
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queneau
An ex-soldier and mathematics obsessive returns from expeditionary duty in Morocco to Queneau's milieu par excellence, Paris. Without family and only a few lingering connections from the army, he wanders about attempting to define himself in the context of two groups of people: the lowlifes and petty crooks who are associated with his former army friends, and a band of eccentric spiritualist Marxists who clearly are Queneau's parody of the French Surrealists, a group that he was associated with ...more
MJ Nicholls
Another installment in Queneau's trilogy of romans à clef. The other two novels, The Last Days and A Hard Winter (translated to English but hasn't been reprinted since 1938!) re-imagine Queneau's youth in a bittersweet and often self-critical way.

This novel is about the perils of trying to live a unique and different life to everyone else. (Who are also trying to live unique and different lives). No matter how hard the protagonist tries, how mathematically he orders his world, he can't escape hi
...more
Jim
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, short-fiction
This is a book about a feckless young intellectual's life before he somehow finds himself. In many ways, it reminds me of George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Except, Raymond Queneau is very French, and Odile is so French that it almost have been a nouvelle vague film by Truffaut or Godard.

Roland Travy is a fellow traveler who lives on the edges of communism as he hangs out with a bunch of pseudo-psychics with Marxist pretensions, centered around a strange mesmerizing figure named Anglare
...more
Chuck LoPresti
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Odile is probably most valuable as a fairly clear statement of Queneau's position amongst his less respectable peers of the time. Queneau never moved in lock step with any trends of the time and this book states that fairly clearly. It's a love story in some ways but you wouldn't expect to Queneau to gush, coo or otherwise pitch-woo so if you are generally put off by such things - you're safe here. There's nothing overly complex or intellectual here but Queneau's amongst pseudo-intellectuals is ...more
GloriaGloom
Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pensavo di averlo perduto molti anni fa questo libro, e nella futile vita di un lettore tutto ciò equivale a un microdramma, invece oggi è ricomparso all'improvviso. Se fossi un demente newage saprei dare una risposta a questo scherzo del caso, invece mi tocca star qui a chiedermi se venti anni e più di polvere lo abbiano reso un potenziale portatore microbi omicidi. L'odore c'è tutto. Per cui non lo rileggerò, ma lo ricordo perfettamente, quindi qualcosa vorrà dire.
Jonfaith
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was instance whre it looked as if Three Stars was the destined outcome before the Author brought one back in stoppage time. Queneau shined when he pushed aside his scathing satire and exhibited honest insecurity and sentiment in the final 30 pages.

The Surrealists and Marxists received equal abuse in this curious vehicle. It is a witty triumph.
Robert
Apr 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A main character who tries his best not to turn his life into a love story and, at the last moment, realizes his error, much to my relief.
Matthew
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than two thirds of the novel is given over to an often funny, occasionally heavy-handed, critique of Surrealism and early 20th century French intellectualism. I didn't really find that aspect to be very compelling, especially since the narrative is so uncharacteristically straightforward. But this critique is book-ended by Queneau's ideas about creativity, literary experimentation, and the dangers of rigid thinking, which completely recast the rest of the novel for me. Instead of reading it ...more
Andy Stallings
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A relatively straight-forward narrative marked by frequent conversations ranging between ironic and earnest in tone, usually covering multiple sides of some idea. The love story gathers momentum slowly, with Odile remaining peripheral for much of the story while Roland Travy grapples with past shame, present unhappiness, and a group of constantly feuding literati who bear a pretty obvious resemblance to Breton's surrealist group. Even without the love story, the crispness of the sentences would ...more
Vittorio Ducoli
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un Queneau dimesso, una Parigi fantastica

Piccolo romanzo quasi autobiografico, narra del distacco del protagonista, nella Parigi degli anni '20, dai vuoti movimenti dell'avanguardia intellettuale e politica (il surrealismo di Breton) e della sua tribolata accettazione dell'amore per una donna (Odile), a lungo negato in quanto "banale" e "borghese".
E' un Queneau un po' dimesso, anche nello stile di scrittura, che tuttavia si legge volentieri immergendosi nell'atmosfera di straordinaria vitalità d
...more
Paul Sonnenberg
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For much of this book, I was carried along only by mild interest. But, by the end, I was moved it away I haven't been in a long time by a book. I feel that there is much in this book for me to learn about my own life. I will come back to it again until I have learned it.
Juan Luis
Entretenida novelita que parodia con muy buenas maneras los grupúsculos literarios, en este caso el creado alrededor de André Bretón y su surrealimo, pero extensible a hoy día sin duda. Es también y pese a todo una novelita de amor :-P
Brent Hayward
Interesting (and encouraging): without the trademark puns and surreal quirkiness-- or, I guess, with only indications of them, as they were being developed for full use in later books-- Queneau was a pretty mediocre novelist This early book is dull, and kind of a mess.
Paolo Rinco
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
altro brillante racconto di Queneau su come le relazioni umane vengono influenzate da ciò che le circonda persino dalla politica ma tuttavia l'uomo rimane alla fine il solo arbitro del proprio destino! Sartre e l'esistenzialismo docet!
Stéphane
Un roman qui manque résolument de structure et qui passe d'un thème à un autre sans achever de denouer les brins de chaque peloton.
Quelques fils passionants quand même et un personnage au final attachant surtout dans les 25 dernières pages du roman.
Fx Smeets
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five star for the brilliant satire of Breton's little court and the formidable precision of the style, from a writer who was still in his thirties.
Brian James
How does one fill the emptiness that has been left inside after the experiences of war? How does one search for meaning in a world where humanity feels bankrupt? These are the questions at the heart of Queneau's novel about a young man in Paris during the years following the first world war. Somewhat absent the usual wit and playfulness of many of his other works, this is a more serious look at human society (though to be sure, flashes of his wit and playfulness do show through). And while this ...more
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Joachim Stoop
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May 30, 2012
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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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