David Katzman's Reviews > Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon

Illustrated Three-Line Novels by Joanna Neborsky
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's review
Jan 22, 2011

really liked it
Recommended for: Francophiles and collage illustration lovers, Edward Gorey fans
Read on January 22, 2011 — I own a copy

A beautifully illustrated book with charming, mordant three-line epitaphs that taste of the dry wit of Edward Gorey. The illustrations are collage-style, much like Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python illustrations, with photos, ink, markers and possibly crayon. Unlike Gorey, these scenarios are not fictional. They were brief news items written in a French newspaper in 1906 by Felix Fénéon, a member of the literati and an anarchist.

Some of the dark tidbits made me giggle. Some were rather sad. They all captured an intriguing tone of turn-of-the-century France. Overall, it’s an evocative collection, but can they really be considered three line “novels?” True, Hemmingway wrote a six word “novel” that he claimed was his best work.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Pretty sharp, that. But in this case, I was left wanting a bit more after tearing through this $24.95 hardback in about half an hour. Enjoyed, yes. But probably better to borrow from the library.
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02/02/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan I've read the non-illustrated book, and found it fascinating. I keep meaning to go back and do a proper review or at least put down some examples of the three line 'novels' - as you say hardly novels but some amazingly succinct summaries of tragedies and accidents and lots of humour too. So many deaths I thought in that one year...

David Katzman It was fascinating. And exactly as you describe, succinct summaries of tragedies and accidents that were almost like limericks but tastefully without rhyme.

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