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12 Reviews
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, Mind-stretching and Inspirational
Okay, so that's a bit over the top. But these stories (one story, told in many different ways, actually) make me smile, make me think about language, syntax, construction and style, and inspire me to have a go myself.
The writer uses a range of styles to explore the differences this makes to the story, and to the reader's perception of the protagonists. This book is...
Published on 19 Aug 2002 by Andy Back

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Excrement in Piles
Sorry to break with the consensus on this supposed masterpiece, but I'm afraid that I found it a great big malodorous heap of merde. I could say that in 98 other ways but I'd surely bore the pants off you.

It's not that I'm a Wilbur Smith reader who just stumbled on this book by accident. I've read Queneau before and was interested by the concept behind this...
Published 7 months ago by James Abbott


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, Mind-stretching and Inspirational, 19 Aug 2002
By 
Andy Back (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Exercises in Style (Paperback)
Okay, so that's a bit over the top. But these stories (one story, told in many different ways, actually) make me smile, make me think about language, syntax, construction and style, and inspire me to have a go myself.
The writer uses a range of styles to explore the differences this makes to the story, and to the reader's perception of the protagonists. This book is a must for anyone who ever tried to write using different voices or in different contexts (for example, a letter has a different tone to a newspaper report, a police statement or a short story, probably).
The stunning realisation that this book is a translation from the French makes the translator seem just as remarkable as the author!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of literature's greatest jokes!, 7 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Exercises in Style (Paperback)
Queneau was, among many other things, a brilliant gamester. In this book he takes the most banal of stories and tells it 99 times in 99 different styles. It is a weird book, whose charm grows as you continue. Once you get to the 5th or 6th version of this inane tale, you begin to laugh and gasp and don't stop until the end. Like all good jokes, it is more than a joke. If you delight in language, read this book. If you do not delight in launguage, this book will teach you to. I have read the original French version, and Barbara Wright has stayed true to it in this wonderful translation. Don't miss this gem!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doorway to new perspectives, 14 Feb 2009
By 
Steven Unwin "Steve Unwin" (Preston, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) (Paperback)
This is a fascinating book. It presents a very simple story, an encounter on a crowded tube train with a brief meeting later the same afternoon. Nothing special in that you may think. What is unique about this book is not the story, but the way in which it is presented, or ways in which it is presented to be more accurate, for the same story is presented 99 times.

Now we may at first wonder that there are nine, let alone 99 different ways of describing such a simple tale. The magic of the book is the multiplicity of styles Queneau uses. We might imagine the story told from the different perspectives of the participants. But imagine it observed passively, or described by someone hesitatingly, or with extreme precision. Imagine it told through a sonnet, or a play, or in a tactile way, as the notes in a policeman's notebook, or focussing on sounds, through spoonerisms, or by a mathematician.

The result is that one is left thinking that there are so many more ways that even such a simple story could be told.
The effect is many-fold. Never again will I be able to see a description of anything without being aware of just how partial that description must be. It illuminates the reality of multiple perspectives from which everything can be seen.

For the writer, reader, speaker and listener it changes the way you perceive the description of everything. Opening up new opportunities and raising countless new questions.

This is a truly fascinating book, which has become a timeless classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 7 April 2009
This review is from: Exercises in Style (Paperback)
A brilliant book. How can you tell a simple, everyday story in 99 different ways? I have read it in 3 different languages and I am always impressed with the translator's creativity.
This book is an intellectual challenge and more importantly, great fun. We used it in my English class and we wrote our own story using different versions. It was great inspiration.
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5.0 out of 5 stars must have for any creative, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) (Paperback)
classic must-read for any creative individual; be you comic book artist, film maker, poet... it shows how much you can change the narrative with just a simple shift in perspective
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4.0 out of 5 stars exercises in style, 9 April 2014
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Mr. Moshe Elias (london, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) (Paperback)
entertaining. i read it with a permanent smile. the pieces are long enough to make the point and short enough not to strain the pleasure.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Excrement in Piles, 11 Jan 2014
This review is from: Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) (Paperback)
Sorry to break with the consensus on this supposed masterpiece, but I'm afraid that I found it a great big malodorous heap of merde. I could say that in 98 other ways but I'd surely bore the pants off you.

It's not that I'm a Wilbur Smith reader who just stumbled on this book by accident. I've read Queneau before and was interested by the concept behind this one of his efforts. But I came away extremely disappointed. I assume that Queneau is trying to be funny but the humour is terribly dated and didn't provoke the slightest snigger out of me. Equally, I found nothing that was remotely intelligent or thought-provoking - he might have tried to provide different perspectives in the style of Rashomon, say, but all you get is just whimsical piffle. And some of the exercises are the purest gibberish:

'pl rm fo an ov us sb aw is ou ay ma ng ho nw....'

- I hope that doesn't give away the plot!

This is just experimentalism for experimentalism's sake. A complete waste of time. Pretentious garbage.

0 out of 62 deluded ninnies will find this review useful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Informative., 22 Nov 2011
By 
Janet Cockerill "grandma" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) (Paperback)
If you have ever struggled with a piece of writing you will appreciate this little book which cleverly shows many different ways of presenting the same short account. The one with an Italianate theme is hilarious.Even more amazing when you consider that it has been translated from the French original
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, perfect for high school students or just for fun, 8 Jan 2010
By 
K. Leoungk (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) (Paperback)
This is a deliciously smart book that describes a simple, rather bland passage in various styles.
The fact that it is translated from the French is even more amazing, I only wish I could read the original.
I suggest buying the later edition (2007?) because they've changed the text to a smaller font which I find much better than the older edition.
Bought it through Amazon, and again, excellent service.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How many ways are there to tell a story?, 17 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Exercises in Style (Paperback)
Many! any reader of this book will testify so! Playfull, but on certain occasions tirring by its repetitiveness. Enlightning and imaginative, as it illustrates the understanding of one story in many ways, through many prismas, as different characters would describe. A trip I would definitely suggest to everyone.
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Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics)
Exercises in Style (Oneworld Classics) by Raymond Queneau (Paperback - 1 July 2008)
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