Nominated for the 2016 PEN Translation Prize
One of Flavorwire's Top 50 Independent Books of 2015
One of Entropy Magazine's Best Fiction Books of 2015
One of Bookriot's 100 Must-Read Books Translated From French
Sphinx is the remarkable debut novel, originally published in 1986, by the incredibly talented and inventive French author Anne Garreta, one of the few female members of Oulipo, the influential and exclusive French experimental literary group whose mission is to create literature based on mathematical and linguistic restraints, and whose ranks include Georges Perec and Italo Calvino, among others.
A beautiful and complex love story between two characters, the narrator, "I," and their lover, A***, written without using any gender markers to refer to the main characters, Sphinx is a remarkable linguistic feat and paragon of experimental literature that has never been accomplished before or since in the strictly-gendered French language.
Sphinx is a landmark text in the feminist, LGBT, and experimental literary canons appearing in English for the first time.
About the Author
Anne F. Garreta is the first member of the Oulipo to be born after the founding of the Oulipo. A normalien (graduate of France's prestigious Ecole normale superieure) and lecturer at the University of Rennes II since 1995, Anne F. Garreta was co-opted into the Oulipo in April 2000. She also teaches at Duke University as a Research Professor of Literature and Romance Studies. Her first novel, Sphinx (Grasset, 1986), hailed by critics, tells a love story between two people without giving any indication of grammatical gender for the narrator or the narrator's love interest, A***. Her second novel, Ciels liquides (Grasset, 1990), told the fate of a character losing the use of language. In La Decomposition (Grasset, 1999), a serial killer methodically murdered characters from Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. She met Oulipian Jacques Roubaud in Vienna in 1993, and was invited to present her work at an Oulipo seminar in March 1994 and again in May 2000, which led to her joining the Oulipo. She won France's prestigious Prix Medicis in 2002, awarded each year to an author whose "fame does not yet match their talent" (she is the second Oulipian to win the award--Georges Perec won in 1978), for her latest novel, Pas un jour (Grasset, 2002). Emma Ramadan is a graduate of Brown University, and received her Master's in Literary Translation from the American University of Paris. Her translation of Anne Parian's Monospace is forthcoming from La Presse. She is currently on a Fulbright Fellowship for literary translation in Morocco.