We Always Treat Women Too Well

We Always Treat Women Too Well

By Raymond Queneau; Barbara Wright (Translator); John Updike (Introduction by)

New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590170304, 169pp.

Publication Date: January 2003


We Always Treat Women Too Well was first published as a purported work of pulp fiction by one Sally Mara, but this novel by Raymond Queneau is a further manifestation of his sly, provocative, wonderfully wayward genius. Set in Dublin during the 1916 Easter rebellion, it tells of a nubile beauty who finds herself trapped in the central post office when it is seized by a group of rebels. But Gertie Girdle is no common pushover, and she quickly devises a coolly lascivious strategy by which, in very short order, she saves the day for king and country. Queneau's wickedly funny send-up of cheap smut—his response to a popular bodice-ripper of the 1940s—exposes the link between sexual fantasy and actual domination while celebrating the imagination's power to transmute crude sensationalism into pleasure pure and simple.

About the Author
Raymond Queneau (1903-1976) is acknowledged as one of the most influential of modern French writers, having helped determine the shape of twentieth-century French literature, especially in his role with the Oulipo, a group of authors that includes Italo Calvino, Georges Perec, and Harry Mathews, among others.

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the author of fifty-odd previous books, including twenty novels and numerous collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His fiction has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.