The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 May 2004

Long novel, no verbs

A minor sensation in France, perhaps: Le Train de Nulle Part, "The Train to Nowhere," 233 pages without a single verb.

Author "Michel Thaler" (a pseudonym), per a review in Le Nouvel Observateur, perhaps misogynistic, in spite of a statement to the contrary by Thaler's publisher.

No English translation yet, sorry; twenty euros (plus shipping) for the original French not in my present budget.

Closest English equivalent: Gadsby, a 1937 novel by Ernest Vincent Wright, 50,000 words without a single letter E.

(Via Fark)

Posted at 12:59 PM to Almost Yogurt

TrackBacks if any:

A few years ago, French author Georges Perec wrote a novel titled A Void, which contained not one letter E. If you think it's difficult in English...!

By the way, it was a very entertaining novel.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 4:01 PM on 12 May 2004

The mind boggles. (Wow, a verb with the letter E.)

Surely we should give M. Perec credit for literary value, which I assume is a secondary consideration in the construction of these things.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:19 PM on 12 May 2004

Ah, who needs verbs anyway? An extravagant luxury.

Posted by: CT at 6:40 PM on 12 May 2004

No need for verbs at all, in fact.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:13 PM on 12 May 2004

A recent French work of fiction totally bereft of epithets and/or invective -- that would be quite the rarity.

Posted by: Robb at 8:51 PM on 12 May 2004

I believe 'A Void' is the title of the English translation. If I recall correctly, the French title was 'La Disparition'. That couldn't be translated literally, since it means 'The Disappearance', which has three E's in it. Whether there was anything that disappeared from the novel other than the letter E, I do not know. No one ever discusses the plot.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil at 3:48 PM on 15 May 2004