The book tells the story of Colin and Chloé. Colin is a Parisian bohemian in the 40s, he falls in love with Chloé, a girl with the name of one of Duke Ellington's songs. They get married and could lead a happy life if not Chloé would have gotten a cold during their honeymoon. But soon it becomes obvious that Chloé has something worse than a cold, it's a water lily growing in her lungs.
Boris Vian has a very individual writing style. Things like water lilies in lungs or eels out of water taps indicate a surrealistic plot, which it truly is. Vian likes wordplays and made up words just like Lewis Carroll. His writing is very descriptive and although reality fails one can picture the described things very well. Take for an example the pianocktail, a piano which played in a certain mood like blues produces a cocktail just looking and tasting like the thing. I think this to be very inventive and creative. Two of my favorite sentences are as follows:
"I want to hide in a quince. Because it smells so nice. And because then I would have some peace and quiet..."
"The blue greenish heaven droops nearly to the pavement,and big white stains mark the spots where clouds have been shattered."
Boris Vian has been a multi talented guy. He was writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. This all influenced his novel noticeable.
If you'd like some surrealism to intervene your reading go read this one. I read the book with puckered eye brows but ended up enjoying it.
★ ★ ★ and a half!