Video of Charlotte Mandell Reading and Discussing Zone by Mathias Enard

Mandell’s translation of Zone, the 500-page, 1-sentence novel is forthcoming, eventually, from Open Letter.

You can whet your appetite for Zone by reading The Quarterly Conversation’s essay on the book. Here was what François Monti thought of the novel’s conceit:

Many pages in this book beg for periods that never come. What makes some unpunctuated or oddly punctuated books great is the creativity with which authors solve the stylistic problem they set up for themselves. But in the case of Zone there is little attempt to play with the consequences of this largely symbolic decision.

That being said, the many passages where the writing seems panting and out of breath are balanced by ones of lyrical brilliance. Énard’s heavy use of metaphors can be tiring, but there is no denying that he has a knack for finding ones that will illuminate the page. Likewise, when oxygen still reaches the sentence’s brain one sees why the book’s structure is apt, although it could have been much more efficient: Francis’ story is relentless and never-ending, and at its best Énard’s writing is the perfect fodder for the chaos and desperations that are witnessed and felt by his character.

Listen to the video and judge for yourself.

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i apologize in advance if i’m being overly pedantic, but i keep seeing _zone_ referred to as a “one-sentence” novel. it does have more than one sentence. or at least my edition (actes sud) does.

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