by Anne Garréta


Fiction from Deep Vellum Publishing
Translated from French

A landmark literary event: the first novel by a female member of Oulipo in English, a sexy genderless love story.

SKU: 135 Category:


Deep Vellum Publishing
Ebook: 9781941920084
Publication date: April 21, 2015

Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan


“The set-up is such a classic, relatable tale of falling in — and out — of love that one wonders why gender has always been such a huge factor in how we discuss relationships, in fiction and otherwise. . . . So, the author, and the translator, created their own language, championing love and desire over power and difference.” — Maddie Crum, Huffington Post

“…Sphinx highlights the already limiting nature of language when it comes to matters of gender, and of love.” — Stephanie Hayes, The Atlantic

“The strength of [Sphinx] lies in its philosophical eloquence . . . Take away gender and race from the book, and what’s left? Love, viewed as a nihilistic transcendence . . . considerably more than a language game.” — Adam Mars-Jones, London Review of Books

“Sphinx is an almost effortlessly readable, atmospheric love story, like a Marguerite Duras novel starring a pair of genderless paramours who haunt the after-hours clubs and cabarets of Paris. The conceit is so simple and so potent that it’s impossible to get too far without pondering big questions about the role gender plays in the way we think about love in literature — and in life.” — Juey Berman, Flavorwire

“In this sense, just as the novel is genderless, it is also genderfull . . . Garréta finds endless shades of in between and out of bounds, her characters taking shapes no other text before—or since—has imagined.” — Lauren Elkin, Bookforum

“For Garréta, it just may be possible then that the body occupies the space of language as powerfully as its capacity to produce it.” — Tyler Curtis, BOMB Magazine

“Sphinx is a novel of passion and loss that transcends gender and speaks to the universality of desire and loss, morality, spiritual crisis and the need to connect and belong. It’s also a novel that captivates and propels the reader to question the boundaries of desire and memory—and which one ultimately holds us captive.” — Monica Carter, Three Percent

“I must start by saying that I simply devoured this book. Its romp through seamy Paris nightclubs; its exacting portrait of a passionate affair; and its exploration of both mileus with a deft mixture of immediacy and intellectual detachment had me absolutely obsessed with it — I just had to know what was happening next.” — Miriam Bridenne, Albertine Books, “4 French Women Writers To Discover This Summer!”

“Centering her tale on the love and lust of a young couple in the Parisian underworld allows Garréta to train our eyes on the physical beauty of youth, the sensuality of anonymous bodies, and our preconceptions regarding both. The bodies of je and A***, left bare of gender markers, create the need for a new, more vigilant kind of reading that involves a constant undoing of assumptions. They cry: Read yourselves, not just us.” — Jane Yong Kim, Words Without Borders

“However, the fragments that do surface from this unconscious reservoir are vividly and eloquently incarnated. This is particularly true of the prose around lights, music, and bodies—the primary elements that compose nightclubs. They are rendered in rapturous tones . . . I could go on—exquisite fragments like these are packaged in nearly every page.” — John Taylor, The Rumpus

“Spectacular.” —Aaron Westerman, Typographical Era (5-star review)

“Quite remarkable, and a rewarding piece of experimental—in the best senses of the word—fiction.” —Complete Review

“Masterful…an extremely ambitious experiment pushing the boundaries of language.” —Sarah Coolidge, Zyzzyva

“The reader is both forced and free to provide what the author has pointedly left out of the text. Even if a reader is aware of the book’s constraint, moving his or her or their eyes across the page at a sufficient speed, the reader begins to add the pronouns Ramadan was so careful to exorcise. Which ones in particular will vary: the book is a Rorschach test for each reader’s assumptions about gender and the writing of gender. These assumptions are as likely to be conditioned by clues within the text as by the knowledge of paratextual facts about it.” — Ryan Ruby, 3 Quarks Daily

Included in Bustle‘s “23 Books in Translation by Women Writers”

Featured in Off The Shelf‘s “12 Innovative books to get you out of your reading rut”

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