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Hocus Bogus Hardcover – Mar 2 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 2 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030014976X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300149760
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #727,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“To read Hocus Bogus in Bellos's superb translation is to marvel at its dizzyingly distorted syntax ('I don't speak Danish, but not well enough'), constant wit ('reptiles are always first in the firing line when it comes to hate speech') and sheer energy.”— Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

(Michael Dirda The Washington Post)

Hocus Bogus is a fascinating, semi-autobiographical, novel-like work . . . superbly translated by David Bellos.”--Wall St. Journal

(Wall St. Journal)

“[A] fascinating novel that is both the wild story of (and by) a mentally unhinged artist… a linguistic tour de force.”—M.A. Orthofer, The Complete-Review
(M.A. Orthofer Complete-Review)

"Hocus Bogus was written as a hoax, but it’s a genuine masterpiece. Hilarious, poignant, and utterly absurd, this book is like nothing you’ve read before. The brilliant translation by David Bellos captures the wordplay of this madman’s memoir with an astounding skill.”—Maurice Samuels, Yale University

(Maurice Samuels)

“The literary hoax named ‘Émile Ajar,’ successfully perpetrated by Romain Gary in the 1970s, was a scandal—less for the element of deception, perhaps, than for that extraordinary, humiliating success. In the first English translation of Ajar's most demented book, David Bellos has produced a text with all the wild, grating, fingernail against chalkboard squeal of the original. Hocus Bogus gets on your nerves, demands that you fling it against the wall in anger and contempt—and if you do it has won the match, defeated you, and will stride off the court in triumph.”—Esther Allen, City University of New York
(Esther Allen)

“In the era of pseudo-everything—fake memoirs, ersatz life-writing, reality TV, Internet avatars and infinite forms of plagiary—this addled ‘autobiography’ of an invented authorial persona is especially timely; a model of untrustworthy narration for generations to come!”—Emily Apter, author of The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature

(Emily Apter)

Runner-Up for the 2011 PEN Translation Prize, as given by the PEN American Center
(PEN Translation Prize PEN American Center 2012-06-06)

About the Author

Romain Gary (1914–1980), a French novelist, film director, World War II aviator, and diplomat, was the author of more than thirty novels, essays, and recollections. David Bellos is professor of French and comparative literature and director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University.

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