A charming and delightful novel, full of language tricks, jumpcuts and strange oblique dialogue. Zazie is the troublemaking adolescent who arrives in Paris to stay for an entire weekend in the house of her Uncle Gabriel (Unkoo) and his permanently gentle wife, Marceline. Gabriel works as a female impersonator in a disreputable nightclub. Zazie's main ambition while in Paris is to ride the Metro, but it's shut because of a strike. She wanders off on her own and meets a dubious character variously called Pedro-surplus, Trouscallion and Haroun al Rations: he's a conman who follows her back to Uncle Gabriel's apartment.
All sorts of bizarre adventures follow. The characters that populate this novel are quirky and strange: Turandot, Mado ptits-pieds, Gridoux and the parrot Laverdure. The climax of the story is very unexpected and bizarre. The conman turns out to be an ancient gentleman who has wandered the world for a very long time (it would give away too much to state exactly who he is)... Queneau was a magnificent writer, clever, funny and original. He was also a master of the light touch that doesn't preclude profundity of thought and emotion. Brilliant!