Princess Hoppy or, The Tale of Labrador
Translated by Bernard Hoepffner
A postmodern fairy tale might best describe Jacques Roubaud's delightful book The Princess Hoppy or, The Tale of Labrador. How else to describe a novel that reads like an Arthurian romance as rewritten by Lewis Carroll, with enough math puzzles to keep the game reader busy with a calculator for months?
The tale concerns a princess, her faithful dog (who happens to be a wiz at math), four royal uncles always plotting, four royal aunts always potting, a lovesick hedgehog named Bartleby, two camels named North Dakota and South Dakota, four ducks who double as boats (thus called doats), and an amphibious blue whale named Barbara—to name only a few. (Even the Sun has a speaking role.) There are dramatic abductions, daring rescues, passages in hitherto untranscribed languages (Dog, Grasshopper, Duck), tales of unrequited love, allegorical interludes, poems, a playlet, and much more. (But no suspenders, the author promises.)
Finally, there are 79 questions for readers of the novel, to see how closely they've been paying attention—for ultimately The Princess Hoppy is a giddy inquiry into how we read literary works. It is both an old-fashioned tale and an ultramodern hypertext, the oldest and the latest thing in fiction.
Nb of pages 133 p.
Publication Date 01 September 1993
Nb of pages 133
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5 in.
List Price $9.95
Some Indications about What the Tale Says
The one telling the tale
1 It is the tale that tells, and the one telling the tale is the tail, the Tail of Labrador. Thus the tale is said to be the Tale of Labrador.
2 When the tale says what the tale says, the tale tells you: here is what the tale says. Who is then speaking, the tale? Yes, but don’t ever forget that the tale is the tale of Labrador.
"Exhilarating . . . [T]he chief pleasures of this book are its narrative inventiveness and vigorously related amusing parodies, excellently translated by Bernard Hoepffner. Mr. Roubaud is a vivid and charming writer who seems to smile as he makes esthetic and philosophical points about the autonomy of fiction and the illusory nature of destiny. He is, moreover, highly proficient at various forms of humor, from the silly to the sophisticated. When he does satirize the vanities of society, his touch is light and never mean-spirited . . . [The Princess Hoppy is] a delightfully eccentric book, [where] Mr. Roubaud combines a nimble intellect with an endearingly buoyant spirit."
"One of the strangest books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading completely and finding that I had not quite fully understood just what it is I was reading is Jacques Roubaud's The Princess Hoppy . . . Roubaud takes advantage of language . . . expectations of heroic fairy tales, and postmodern perspective to create a story rife with intrigue, suspense, and mathematical puzzles. The Princess Hoppy is an irreverent trip throughout collective consciousness, with elements familiar to everyone, but with a bizarre
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Genres : Fiction : Movements and Schools : Oulipo
Genres : Fiction : Europe : Western Europe
Countries : France