Poet Raphael Rubinstein transforms Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style into a numerical formula.
99: Number of exercises in the original edition (1947) of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style.
28: Number of additional variations by Queneau, available in English for the first time in the edition just published by New Directions. The original 99 are taken from in Barbara Wright’s 1958 translation; Christopher Gordon Clark rendered the 28 new additions.
10: Variations commissioned by New Directions for this edition from contemporary authors, including, among others, Jonathan Lethem, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, and Frederic Tuten.
137 (in case you aren’t keeping track): Total number of exercises in this book.
3: Number of main characters in the book (a peevish young man with a long neck, another older male bus passenger, a friend of the young man’s), none of whom is named until the very last word of the 99th exercise.