"Hitting the Streets" by Raymond Queneau: A Review
Raymond Queneau was born in Normandy in 1903 and studied at the Sorbonne before military service and a career working for the Gallimard publishing house. A novelist, philosopher, poet, mathematician and translator, he was a leading figure in twentieth-century French literary life, a prolific writer whose work touches on many of the major cultural movements of his time. In 1959 he published his best-known work, the novel "Zazie dans le metro", which was a popular success both as a book and in the film adaptation by Louis Malle.
Unreeling like a series of film clips recorded during a stroll through Paris, Raymond Queneau's Hitting the Streets is wickedly funny. It is also a bittersweet meditation on the effects of time and memory. Hitting the Streets is Queneau's love letters to Paris - a Paris that is always in the process of becoming obsolete. This lively, idiomatic version is the first complete translation available in English.
Rachel Galvin has produced an excellent translation - she has consistently managed to find successful equivalents for the many colloquialisms, puns and rhymes, whilst retaining the original fluid and colloquial style. This reads very naturally in English and is a great read for anyone who loves Paris!