Scottish Review of Books: Double or Nothing
“Raymond Federman – world renowned author – except in the United Kingdom”. You can sort of see why. British readers, the stereotype runs, are not fans of intellectual games, and the Franco-American’s novel possesses a certain heavy going playfulness to it. Double Or Nothing is a ‘concrete’ novel, meaning pattern and idea are privileged over character and story to a near oblique degree. Whereas ‘normal’ books form pictures in your head, the concrete novel forms pictures on the page with its text. But one must note that Double Or Nothing is not merely an experiment for experiment’s sake. There is an autobiographical thrust to his work; a Jewish child growing up in occupied France, he narrowly avoided his parents’ fate – Auschwitz. Reworked to the point of incoherence, his looping tale of his arrival in America and subsequent attempt to write the novel that becomes Double Or Nothing has an instability built-in one can perhaps trace back to that suddenly orphaned child. And yet there is humour in Double Or Nothing, of the sort Beckett would appreciate.
- Add to BasketDouble Or Nothing: A Real Fictitious Discourse - - Paperback
'Double or Nothing' is a concrete novel - one in which the words become physical materials on the page. Federman gives each page a shape: makes it into a picture. The words move, cluster, jostle and collide in a tour de force full of puns, parodies and imitations.