Zazie in the Metro

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Zazie in the Metro
First English version
AuthorRaymond Queneau
Original titleZazie dans le Métro
Published1959 (Gallimard) (French)
Olympia (English)
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

Zazie in the Metro or Zazie (depending on the translation of the original French title Zazie dans le Métro) is a French novel written in 1959 by Raymond Queneau, and his first major success.

Plot [edit]

Provincial pre-teenager Zazie stays in Paris with her Uncle Gabriel for two days, while her mother spends some time with her lover. Zazie manages to evade her uncle's custody, and métro strike notwithstanding, sets out to explore the city on her own.


Zazie explores colloquial language as opposed to "standard" written French; Queneau referred to the language spoken by Zazie and the other characters as "neo-French". It is marked by colloquial diction and slang, by phonetic spelling, and by "the morpho-syntax typical of spoken French".[1] For instance, the first word of the book, the neologism Doukipudonktan, is a phonetic transcription of D'où (est-ce) qu'il pue donc tant ? ("From where does he/do they stink so much?"). In the English version of the novel, this is rendered as "Holifart watastink"; in the movie version the English subtitle reads "Whozit who stinks?"[citation needed]

According to a 1959 article from Elle, "to speak Zazie" was all the rage in France.[2]


In 1960 the book was adapted by Louis Malle into a film of the same name, starring Catherine Demongeot as Zazie and Philippe Noiret as Gabriel. In the film, Zazie is younger than in the book (where her mother is worried about Zazie's virginity). The book was also adapted for theatre and published as a comic book as well.

Publication details[edit]

  • ISBN 0-14-218004-1 (Penguin paperback, translated by Barbara Wright)
  • ISBN 2-07-052813-8 (Éditions Gallimard Jeunesse, Paris 1999)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]