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"Décapsule un oeuf." ("Pop open an egg.") Enter Palafox. Palafox, Eric Chevillard’s visionary play of word and thought has been compared to the work of Beckett, Michaux, and Pinget, yet the universe he spins is utterly his own. Palafox (Editions de Minuit, 1990), Chevillard's third novel of eleven, explores the ecosystem of an unclassifiable yet enchanting, protean creature. A team of “experts” armed with degrees of higher learning is determined to label, train, pamper, baptize, and realize the elusive creature, while Palafox—driven by his own interior logic and flanked by another dimension for the most part on his side—effortlessly and wordlessly defies them all.
The current American new fabulism could learn a great deal from this very amusing book and its willingness to take real narrative risks...Beautifully translated by Wyatt Mason, Palafox is a must for anyone intersted in anti-realist fiction."
Eric Chevillard involves his reader in a powerful meditation on evil, foolishness, and inhumanity lurking in the heart of man."
—Jean-Maurice de Montremy
Imagine a comedy of manners, a supernatural tale, a sly commentary on science's quest for knowledge, a sad story about a creature that seems to possess characteristics common to marsupials, reptiles, and amphibians, not to mention insects and humans, and you have an inkling of what Eric Chevillard has done in his dark, disturbing, delightful, downright funny story of Palafox. Now mix into this brew some of Ronald Firbank's verbal fireworks, Italo Calvino's imaginative flights of exquisite writing, and Raymond Roussel's weird deadpan logic, and you get a little more of an inkling."