November 12, 2005

EUROPEANA: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century

I am contributing this review to the blog of what is without any doubt the best book - best experimental novel to have been published since ... do I dare say it ... ah fuck it federman say it -- yes -- since Double or Nothing --

I have now read this book 4 times -- in French -- I met Ouredník in Montpellier last year where we gave a reading together in a fantastic place - it was like a cave -- an underground cave -- perfect for Ouredník and federman -- two of the mad chroniclers of the great historical fiasco of the 20th century --

we exchanged books -- and parted good friends -- in agreement that the 20th century had left a ugly scar on the history of our planet --

since then I've been telling to all my french friends to read this book -- and now that it exists in English -- you out there drop everything you are doing and go immediately read this book -- it's only 132 pages -- reading without stopping - without breathing -- you will have encountered a fantastic writer --

if you have not read this book next time you come to consult this blog you will not be allowed to come in

read EUROPEANA and you will understand why our world is so fucked up now -- and how those guys of the 20th century made a mess of everything and how they left -- yes -- an ugly scar across our history --


below you will find what an old professor of mine -
Judd Hubert - now 85 years old -- wrote me after he read my novel Retour au Fumier.

I was very touched by what Judd wrote. He was one of two professors who really taught me something.

Judd Hubert at UCLA where I got my Ph.D taught me how to read -- how to read a novel below the surface of the story.

William Owens at Columbia University where I started writing taught me how to write -- how to write beyond the story.

Coming from my professor means more than any review the book might get.

Cher Raymond:

Je viens de lire avec enthousiasme et admiration ce texte d'un genre tout à fait nouveau où bien des paragraphes combinent le pathétique avec le cocasse et l'érotique. C'est un chef-d'oeuvre plein d'allusions littéraires et cinématographiques dont le protagoniste est un adolescent Beckettien persécuté par un vieillard.

Les fossés où dorment les croulants de Sam se transforment en granges bousifiées où les mouches bousilllent tout ce qui bouge .Le crado y atteint son comble. Les sabots sont bien pires que les chaussures d’En attendant Godot dont les personnages portent des loques à peu près à leur mesure. Et la fin où on retrouve la ferme est digne de ce héros de Fellini qui n'arrive pas à reconstituer ses souvenirs d'enfance. Enfin, le système narratif rendrait jaloux Jacques le fataliste. Félicitations!


Dear Raymond:

I just finished reading with enthusiasm and admiration Retour au Fumier. A totally new genre, in which paragraphs combine the pathetic with the comical and erotism. It is a master-piece full of literary and cinematographic allusions whose protagonist is a Beckettian adolescent persecuted by an old man.

The ditches where Sam’s bums sleep are transformed here in barns full of cow dung and where flies attack everything that moves. Dirt reaches its maximum. The boy’s clogs are worse than the smelly shoes of Waiting for Godot whose bums wear rags as tattered as that of the boy. The end, when the farm is finally found, is as worthy a moment as when the hero of Fellini who cannot reconstitute his childhood memories. Finally, the narrative system would make the author of Jacques le fataliste envious. Congratulations!


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