The Flight of Icarus

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New Directions Publishing, 1973 - Fiction - 191 pages
7 Reviews
Called by some the French Borges, by others the creator of le nouveau roman a generation ahead of its time, Raymond Queneau's work in fiction continues to defy strict categorization. The Flight of Icarus (Le Vol d'lcare) is his only novel written in the form of a play: seventy-four short scenes, complete with stage directions. Consciously parodying Pirandello and Robbe-Grillet, it begins with a novelist's discovery that his principal character, Icarus by name, has vanished. This, in turn, sets off a rash of other such disappearances. Before long, a number of desperate authors are found in search of their fugitive characters, who wander through the Paris of the 1890s, occasionally meeting one another, and even straying into new novels. Icarus himself––perhaps following the destiny his name suggests––develops a passion for horseless carriages, kites, and machines that fly. And throughout the almost vaudevillian turns of the plot, we are aware, as always, of Queneau's evident delight at holding the thin line between farce and philosophy.
  

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Review: The Flight of Icarus

User Review  - PHILIPPE MALZIEU - Goodreads

Queneau is one of my preferred writers. I read all his books in the complète edition the Pleiad. There are several themes in these books. Country chronicles with fantastic, urban novels and atypical ... Read full review

Review: The Flight of Icarus

User Review  - Chuck LoPresti - Goodreads

Amongst the essential Queneau. Characters take flight from their pages and assume responsibility of their own fates. Succinct and essential - Queneau cuts the kite string from traditional character ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
11
Section 3
19
Section 4
27
Section 5
34
Section 6
48
Section 7
91
Section 8
116
Section 9
137
Section 10
145
Copyright

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About the author (1973)

This French author of treatises on mathematics and other scholarly works has made his reputation writing comic novels. Raymond Queneau (through one of his characters) once defined humor as "an attempt to purge lofty feelings of all the baloney." Roger Shattuck interprets his philosophy: "Life is of course absurd and it is ludicrous to take it seriously; only the comic is serious." Life is so serious to Queneau that only laughter makes it bearable. He has written a play, screenplays, poetry, numerous articles, and many novels, the first of which, Le Chiendent (The Bark Tree), was published in 1933. In Exercises in Style (1947) he tells a simple anecdote 99 different ways. According to some critics, The Blue Flowers (1965) represents Queneau at his best. Its jokes, puns, double-entendres, deceptions, wild events, tricky correspondences, and bawdy language make it a feast of comic riches. The influence of Charlie Chaplin, as well as James Joyce is detectable in Queneau's fiction.

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