Cover image for Mountain R
Mountain R
Jouet, Jacques.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Montagne R. English
First English edition.
Publication Information:
[Normal, Ill.] : Dalkey Archive Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
143 pages ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In an unnamed country, the President of the Republican Council, wanting to "do something big," strikes upon the idea of building a 1,500-meter high mountain as an inspirational monument to national greatness. Construction of the mountain will reduce unemployment, attract hordes of tourists, and the idea can even be exported for sale to other countries. Mountain R relates the rise and fall of this insane project through the eyes of those involved over several decades: the President whose double-talk sets the plan in motion, a worker who, years later, tells his daughter about the disastrous consequences of the never-completed mountain, and an author commissioned to write a novel about the project. An incisive satire about the dangers of half-witted government officials who use political rhetoric to manipulate the patriotism of their constituents, Mountain R is a humorous yet disturbing allegory quite appropriate to our times.

Author Notes

Jacques Jouet is a French writer and has been a participating member of the Oulipo literary project since 1983. He is a poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayiste, and plasticine artist specializing in collages.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

A novel written entirely in dialogue, without conventional punctuation or a single traditionally described physical scene: is this an exercise in pseudo-intellectual torture? Amazingly, not at all. Jouet's short satirical novel is an innovative melding of genres-part play and part novella-that entirely succeeds in roping the reader in despite its unconventional structure. The book unfolds in three parts, similar to the acts of a play. Set in a fictional republic, it tells the story of government project Mountain R. The book opens with a speech by the "President of the Republican Council," who appears, full of rhetorical swagger, expounding the virtues of his new and ludicrous pet project ("our capital looks like a flat-chested girl... but we are going to alter her"). The idea: build a 1,500-meter-high mountain to fix the region's financial and social woes. But the scheme is not so simple, and soon it begins to unravel. There are coverups, payola, forced labor, unsafe lodging given to exploited foreign workers, prostitution rings and murders. Some of the corruption is revealed by Mr. Muratore, a former senior construction chief on Mountain R, during a long conversation with his daughter. But Muratore reveals himself as diabolical by day's end, and the third section of the novel begins with the trial of those involved in the Mountain R fiasco. The prime witness is writer St?phane, who set out to write a novel based on the project. Jouet occasionally overburdens his allegory, but this is an invigorating read-a novella of ideas that displays a nimble use of language and wit, and percolates with intellectual and creative energy. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved