The Crab Nebula


The Crab Nebula

Éric Chevillard
Translated by Jordan Stump and Eleanor Hardin

128 pages


February 1997


$15.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Crab Nebula (La Nébuleuse du crabe) is comprised of fifty-two vivid chapters that provide startling insights into the existence of this nebulous man named Crab: his nightmarish—and none too solid—physique, his mysterious absence from the pages of history, his birth in prison, his never having been born at all. In his portrait of Crab, Éric Chevillard gives us a character who is genuinely strange and curiously like ourselves.
A postmodernist novel par excellence, The Crab Nebula parodies literary conventions, deconstructs narrative and meaning, and brilliantly combines absurdity and hopelessness with irony and humor. What distinguishes it most of all is the startling originality of Chevillard’s voice and vision. There is whimsy and despair in this novel, pathos and laughter, satire and warm affection.
The Crab Nebula is the fifth novel—and the first to be translated into English—by the brilliant young French author Éric Chevillard. His sympathetic yet outrageous portrait of Crab calls to mind works by Melville, Valéry, and Kafka, while never being less than utterly unique.

Author Bio

Jordan Stump is the translator of four novels by Marie Redonnet—Hôtel Splendid, Forever Valley, Rose Mellie Rose, and Nevermore (Nebraska 1994 and 1996).
Eleanor Hardin is an artist who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is their first collaborative translation.


"Chevillard's hideous protagonist, called Crab, tumbles haphazardly through the book's 52 split-second chapters, ricocheting from one curious situation to the next. . . . The book is a post-modernist's playground, as its author piles on the paradoxes until coherence is left bar behind. . . . Dizzying fun."—New York Times Book Review

"A funny, cryptic, disturbing mosaic portrayal of a nondescript man whose stunted life reveals itself as an amalgam of alternatively possible experiences and obsessions. . . . It's a work of surrealist fantasy given flesh and weight by the very real and very human longing that Chevillard locates in even his phlegmatic underground man's dafter flights of fancy. Out of Becket and Kafka, and, despite that fact, a work of high and exhilarating originality."—Kirkus

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