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prehistorictimes

Prehistoric Times

by

Translated from by

Published: July 2012

$16.00 $9.99$12.80

ISBN: 9781935744160 eISBN: 9781935744306
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Prehistoric Times shows Chevillard at his best: off-kilter and linguistically dazzling, playful and acrobatic, quite mad but always entertaining–and all impossibly captured by Alyson Waters’ fluid and masterful translation.
Brian Evenson, author of Windeye and Immobility

 

Chevillard’s book is a very profound contemplation on the nature of posterity; it may even be inferred that throughout Prehistoric Times Chevillard writes with an awareness that his own artistic production will be dwarfed within the great span of time against which all human beings must live out their brief existence.
Jordan Anderson, The Quarterly Conversation

Book Description

  • Finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award in Fiction
  • Winner of the 2013 French-American Foundation Translation Prize

The narrator of Prehistoric Times might easily be taken for an inhabitant of Beckett’s world: a dreamer who in his savage and deductive folly tries to modify reality. The writing, with its burlesque variations, accelerations, and ruptures, takes us into a frightening and jubilant delirium, where the message is in the medium and digression gets straight to the point. In an entirely original voice, Eric Chevillard asks looming and luminous questions about who we are, the path we’ve been traveling, and where we might be going—or not.

 

 

It’s a masterpiece. It features some of the most outlandish and spectacular prose I’ve read in a long time. It has really made me deliriously happy, in fact.

Rick Moody


The narrator’s reflections swing from the abstract to the concrete and back again. Sometimes his progress is logical, sometimes associative, but the connective tissue, Chevillard’s antic, slightly off-kilter, acrobatic prose, virtuosically rendered into English by Alyson Waters, makes the web of his thoughts seem inevitable and coherent even at its most absurd.

Tess Lewis, Three Percent


Prehistoric Times shows Chevillard at his best: off-kilter and linguistically dazzling, playful and acrobatic, quite mad but always entertaining--and all impossibly captured by Alyson Waters' fluid and masterful translation.

Brian Evenson, author of Windeye and Immobility


Chevillard’s book is a very profound contemplation on the nature of posterity; it may even be inferred that throughout Prehistoric Times Chevillard writes with an awareness that his own artistic production will be dwarfed within the great span of time against which all human beings must live out their brief existence.

Jordan Anderson, The Quarterly Conversation


[Eric Chevillard's] style ranges from the technical to the lyric, from mock-heroic to farce and sound painting. Waters manages it all with impressive invention and control...A brilliant performance.

The Iowa Review


Praise for PALAFOX:

Eric Chevillard involves his reader in a powerful meditation on evil, foolishness, and inhumanity lurking in the heart of man.

Jean-Maurice de Montremy


Offering the reader an experience that is as disturbing and absurdly funny as it is  sublime.

Rain Taxi


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.

John Yau


Beautifully written . . . toys with the line between real and surreal . . . The prose is simultaneously smooth and startling. . . Mason’s translation is stunning.

Bookslut


The fun to be had in Palafox is more along the lines of that spark of pleasure found in a well-aimed cutting remark, or in that spark of insight when, after looking at a painting for 10 minutes, you suddenly realize you’ve just seen something. 

Conversational Reading


Download the Reading Guide for Prehistoric Times.

A great piece on translating Chevillard on If Verso

Listen to episode 4 of the That Other Word podcast by the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris, featuring a discussion of Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times (starting at 7:59)

Eric Chevillard’s blog.

Read an excerpt from the book at The Brooklyn Rail.