The last of his major novels to be translated into English, Saint Glinglin is Queneau's tragicomic masterpiece, a novel that critic Vivian Mercier said "can be mentioned without incongruity in the company" of Mann's Magic Mountain and Joyce's Ulysses. "By turns strange, beautiful, ludicrous, and intellectually stimulating" (as Mercier goes on to say), Saint Glinglin retells the primal Freudian myth of sons killing the father in an array of styles ranging from direct narrative, soliloquy, and interior monologue to quasi-biblical verse. In this strange tale of a land where it never rains, where a bizarre festival is held every Saint Glinglin's Day, Queneau deploys fractured syntax, hidden structures, self-imposed constraints (no words with the letter x until the final word of the novel), playful allusions, and puns and neologisms to explore the most basic concepts of culture. In the process, Queneau satirizes anthropology, folklore, philosophy, and epistemology, all the while spinning a story as appealing as a fairy tale. As translator James Sallis writes in his informative introduction, "Queneau saw science and literature much in the same light: as games offering marvelous opportunities to make all sorts of connections and play out the consequence of arbitrary rules, but offering no essential knowledge of things in themselves". And as he says of Saint Glinglin, "There's nothing quite like it anywhere".
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SAINT GLINGLINUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Queneau (The Last Days, etc.), who died in 1976, is best known as a precursor of postmodernism, and this inventive fiction, published in French in 1948, has a wonderful time playing with itself: it's ... Read full review
Saint GlinglinUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
The novels of Queneau (1903-76) were forerunners of le nouveau roman (the "new novel''), which rejected traditional methods of plotting and characterization and instead created fantastical fictional ... Read full review