Book 821 Harry Matthews – Cigarettes



My first encounter with a member of the Oulipo was via Raymonde Queneau’s Zazie dan La Metro¬† and I liked it. Unfortunately Cigarettes left me with mixed reactions.

On one hand I loved the idea ; generations of New Yorcian high-class citizens have affairs with each others – with long-lasting effects. Plus there’s a subplot about a counterfeit painting which moves from house to house.

That’s basically it but Matthews merges these relationships quite deftly and cleverly so you’re amazed at how he pulls the whole thing off.

On the other hand I found this to be a bit of a laborious and slightly frustrating¬† read, as I said before I’m not a huge fan of experimental novels as I always find them a bit distant (with Ali Smiths’ The Accidental being one of the few exceptions) If you like this then do check out Cigarettes.