‘Precision’ by Raymond Queneau

I categorise Exercises in Style as a short story collection, though it defies classification. It is the retelling, ninety-nine times, each in a different style, of a seemingly unremarkable observation the narrator makes of a man seen first on a crowded bus and then, later, in front of Gare St-Lazare. I have long been fascinated by attempts at exhausting place through an ultimately unattainable total description, and this is a key textbook of that project.

First published in French as Exercises de Style in 1947 by Editions Gallimard; widely translated

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