Jealousie and Le Mis-en-Scène

7e56b9f0-9ab0-0132-a2c4-0e6808eb79bfOne of my favorite and most admired novels is Jealousie by Alain Robbe-Grillet. I first met Robbe-Grillet on a back-shelf at Papa Bach: the cover of the Grove paperback of Le Voyeur showing a beautiful naked woman surreptitiously through a bedroom window. I read Le Voyeur and La Maison de Rendez-vous at that time as if they were some new kind of literary magic that I didn’t understand but which I was certain contained hidden treasure.

It wasn’t until I read Jealousie that I began to understand what I eventually learned was the nouveau roman. Jealousie was the key to the magic.

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Tap, Tap, Tapping On the Same Nail

MartereauAs I was reading Nathalie Sarraute’s Martereau I began to see a connection—a pattern—between her novel and a couple of other writers. Since Sarraute is one of the central practitioners of the nouveau roman, I immediately considered my favorite author, Alain Robbe-Grillet. But Sarraute’s novel was different (while still being the same) and all the attention to detail and to cerebral analysis brought Joseph McElroy to mind, especially his challenging novel, Actress In the House, or even more so his novel Women and Men that has challenged me for years and I have yet to conquer.

What is it about Martereau that makes it seem dense and demanding?

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Le Voyeur and Le Nouveau Roman

R-GI sat down to consider what I might say in a post focusing on my favorite author, Alain Robbe-Grillet. Specifically I was running through the events and the structure of what is possibly R-Gs most well-known novel, Le Voyeur. But despite having read this novel at least five times, I began to get confused.

It goes something like this:

Le Voyeur is the story of a watch salesman who takes the ferry to the offshore island where he grew up in hopes to makes some lucrative sales. While he is waiting for the ferry he thinks back to the last time he went to the island and, characteristic of the author, while he is imagining his past experiences, he is also having his remembered self thinking back to his even earlier experiences on the island. Then to really confuse the situation, the watch salesman is also imagining how he will canvas the island when he gets there and how he will make such excellent profits off of the watches he will sell after the ferry takes him to the island.

Of course, when the watch salesman gets to the island and tries to sell his wares, his efforts do not provide the rewards he imagined. Then a young girl is found strangled and there is talk of a stranger wandering suspiciously around the island. Is the watch salesman the killer? There are many clues to suggest he is guilty.

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Nobel Literature Prize

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards - ShowThe Nobel laureates are being announced and there is plenty of news surrounding the upcoming Nobel Prize for Literature. Who will it be?

The Daily Beast has provided a rather exhaustive list of candidates and to emphasize the artistic credentials of these esteemed writers, have even included the odds for winning the prize as posted by the bookies. Hey, if you might win a prize for writing a book, wouldn’t it be natural for a bookie to be involved in the decision?

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