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.