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My Big Apartment, My Big Apartment, 0803235674, 0-8032-3567-4, 978-0-8032-3567-0, 9780803235670, Christian Oster Translated by Jordan Stump, , My Big Apartment, 0803286120, 0-8032-8612-0, 978-0-8032-8612-2, 9780803286122, Christian Oster Translated by Jordan Stump, , My Big Apartment, 0803208367, 0-8032-0836-7, 978-0-8032-0836-0, 9780803208360, Christian Oster Translated by Jordan Stump

My Big Apartment
Christian Oster
Translated by Jordan Stump

hardcover
2003. 157 pp.
978-0-8032-3567-0
$55.00 s
 
paperback
2002. 157 pp.
978-0-8032-8612-2
$20.00 s
 

Winner of the prestigious Prix Medicis and a bestseller in France, My Big Apartment is a humorous and ironic look at the serious subject of growing up. Always accessible but never facile, Christian Oster's books tell of the endless human quest for love and equilibrium in the world. Oster's gift is to make this timeless theme new through deadpan humor, a slyly cerebral style, and a deeply ingrained sense of melancholy.

Gavarine, the gentle but immature protagonist of My Big Apartment, is ambitious only in the search for love. When he loses the keys to his apartment, he loses much more than access to his home. Yet through a true comedy of errors Gavarine ends up finding everything he was looking for, in a way he could never have expected.

Though My Big Apartment can be read purely as a wry romantic comedy, the language is unfailingly rich in implications; there is always more going on in this story than meets the eye. At once unapologetically sentimental and overtly intellectual, Oster's writing belongs to that particular strain of French literature in which seriousness and jest, or passion and the cerebral, fruitfully coexist without effort or contradiction.


Christian Oster lives in France and is the author of eight novels in addition to a number of pseudonymous detective novels and children's books. Jordan Stump is an associate professor of French at the University of Nebraska. He is the author of Naming and Unnaming (Nebraska 1998) and the translator of numerous books, including Éric Chevillard's On the Ceiling (Nebraska 2000) and Claude Simon's Le Jardin des Plantes, for which Stump won the 2001 French-American Foundation Prize.

“Oster is a man who delights in the ambiguities of language, and I think he'd agree that My Big Apartment can be read as a 155-page riff on resignation, in every sense of the word. . . . According to the book's brief introduction by Jordan Stump (who also gamely translated the novel), Oster has said the message of his work is, 'Let's go on living all the same.' And as much as Gavarine's circumstances have changed, living all the same is the one thing we can be certain he'll do.”—New York Times Book Review

“The comically tortured thought processes of an amiable and very confused Parisian slacker are memorably explored in this 1999 winner of France's Prix Médicis. . . . A wry farcical romance and coming-of-age tale like no other: an altogether charming entertainment.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The novel traces the consequences of loss, while simultaneously directing the narrative into a more complex space that explores existence in a world of anonymity, the desire to find companionship, and the difficult task of being happy. Certainly none of the themes are new, though Oster’s delivery is entertaining, and his unique perspective proves valuable.”—Nicolas Reading, Sycamore Review

“Stump’s translation faithfully captures the twists and switchback turns of Gavarine’s monologues, the mulling, the endless unpicking of non-events, the sudden, wrongfooting shifts of focus. Traces of Beckett, Queneau, even Proust, gleam through.”—Shaun Whiteside, Times Literary Supplement


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