Mixing rich prose with fables and poetry, Ryder — Barnes' first novel — loosely tells her family story in the style of Ulysses. Almost every chapter of Ryder is written in a different style, featuring (previously censored) illustrations by Barnes herself.
Barnes first traveled to Paris in 1921 on a journalistic assignment interviewing American expats who had found literary and artistic success in the city. Barnes — like many étrangères before and after her — ended up staying in Paris for nine years. Befriending the likes of James Joyce, she became a fixture of the city's artistic scene and wrote Ryder during this time. Years later, inspired by her Paris years, Barnes wrote Nightwood, a hallmark of Modernist literature and lesbian fiction.
Originally published in English in 1928, this edition of Ryder was translated into French by Jean-Pierre Richard and published in 1982.
For a patient lover of language, absurdity, and Modernism.
Paul West on Barnes and Ryder: "Writing fiction, she was a woman applying lipstick again and again to the same place, varying the hue or the emphasis, the shape, and size, but larding it on thick whenever she got the chance."