The Flight of Icarus
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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absinthe ADELAIDE adultery automobile carriages BALBINE bicarbonate of soda bicycle BIG BURLY Bois de Boulogne BOOKSELLER Cafe Anglais centimes CHAMISSAC-PIEPLU characters coachman colour comes CORENTIN DURENDAL cycling bloomers daughter dear fellow detective Dicky Ruscombe Dion-Bouton disappeared Doctor Lajoie door dream drink duel EURTRUDE everything find Icarus finger of port garage GENDARME GENTLEMAN give Grande-Armee hallo herb tea honour HUBERT Messieurs ICARUS Yes Icarus's JACQUES JEAN LN's look Madame Mademoiselle MAITRE D'HOTEL MAITRETOUT mauve MECHANIC metre 77 Mile BERRRIER Mme DE CHAMPVAUX Mme SURGET MONSIEUR BERRRIER Monsieur Lubert MORCOL Monsieur never novel Ostend oysters Panhard-Levassor partagas perhaps port wine PORTER A BIG profession Reuilly rue Bleue saying goes SECOND DRINKER SILENT CHAPERON sweet Papa tell there's thing THIRD DRINKER thought understand WAITER waiting What's Worlds Tavern worry write YOUNG FOP young lady