Jealousy & In the Labyrinth (books review) Alain Robbe-Grillet

Richard Howard (Translator), Roland Barthes (Introduction), Bruce Morisette (Introduction), Anne Minor (Introduction)


210719: these are the french originals [book:La Jalousie|1478366] and [book:Dans le labyrinthe|140471] a little freudian repetition for me? perhaps...


.??? 80s. notes 271218:


review on both. 201117. 6th time?:

i have had several copies of this perennial favorite. most recently i tried a ‘comfort read’ list and ended up discounting all those books of other people that i had rated less than five, read the suggestion that these be reads i go to for certain pleasure, easy reads, confirming reads. but then i like and am comforted by ‘difficult’ reads, get great certain pleasure, relaxation, exhilaration, that does not come from just any book. so i searched my shelves of ‘nonfictionfavorite’, my ‘fictionfavorite’, started on my... then i decided this is ridiculous. ‘comfort reading’ is for me often ‘literary’ or ‘difficult’ on top of the usual childrens classics that no longer really ‘comfort’. and then there is maybe work that means more only from this or that time or place or... this book is comfort reading for all time... i have given this finally to riley my illustrator friend and told him the story is told in images, like a graphic, but in words... he is skeptical. i want to hear his take on however much he reads...


review on jealousy:

130811. 5th time.

five or six or...later later later addition. is it possible to read this one work too many times? does it render all other novels or anti-novels or experimental novels less than enjoyable in comparison? as much- that is not at all- as for me knowing one beautiful woman or one vista or one world defeats aesthetic appreciation of other women places times. this is not a best seller. r-g himself claims it is a 'long seller', that it has steady sales for years and years. i would like it to be fast and best and long selling, would like other authors to write like this, but maybe it is emotion and subject and perception that most authors find as too surreal, too empty of humans, impassive and emotionless, objective verging on dull, and just not holding attention of writer, let alone reader... so i will read it again, promote it again in my review, even myself try to write something like this...


this is on jealousy:

4th time.

well i do not know if this is actually only the 4th time: i have read this, kept at waimea, every February on vacation i read it again, so the question is more how many times have I been here? many times. i decided to stop counting the books, but as the town library is still closed for renovations... i brought some long texts from home. this place is kind of home as well, so i have read them and a few books from my mom on hawai'ian culture, then read this again...


4 times? sounds like i like it. very much, as effusive previous reviews note my enthusiasm. do not know if first read for class. know i loved it first, second, third, etc. times. i have read a lot of philosophy since first read, i have read a lot of other fiction, i have read a lot of Robbe-Grillet. so this is now a relatively educated read. and a good read. in some ways, i have thought of this as graphics work, or mental movie, telling the story in images. i do not know if my friends who like graphics would like it, though, as nothing much seems to happen. it is very much how the story is told, rather than what the story is, as if these are independent and not interdependent. i like the hollow of the narrator's perception, i like the way his mind deliberately goes from image to image, perhaps spurred by what he does not want to see, what jealousy creates in his every perception, how his view goes towards ‘certainty’ such as counting the banana trees, watching the worker looking in the water- but in the latter case, wondering what he sees, how time is unmoored, how it is now too muddy, now too swift to see anything. then there is his obsessive watching his wife writing or reading a letter, there is the seating plan set by his wife that seems to isolate him, there is the car arriving, his wife bending into the window, his wife bending near to pour a drink for Franck, there is the book they have read that seems like a typical literary treatment for the infidelity imagined. there are so many distractions he tries to understand just so he does not think, does not inhabit, his jealousy. there are the wooden slats in the windows, the ‘jalousies’, that characterize his blinded uncertainty. and there is of course, the centipede on the wall that Franck crushes, the stain this husband tries so hard to efface... as far as the sound goes i have to insist the accompanying intro is mistaken: sound is very important, everything from the crackle of her brushing her hair similar to hissing of the lamp, to the sound of a truck on the highway he cannot see, to the noise some bird or other creatures such as the insistent cicadas... the noise increases in meaninglessness even as it increases in meaning for the narrator... i love this book, i can only repeat, almost mechanically, that for me the interdependence is important in pleasure of reading, of how the story is told is what the story is told...


this is on in the labyrinth:

4th time.

so i read this after many years, prepared to be disappointed… and i like it even more. i have read many lit classics, i have read modernists, i have read postmodernists, since first reading this book. i have read more as i have read more. i am incredibly affected by this style, this technique, i am further convinced that sometimes style is content. it is how this story is told that is what the story is told: a mental movie told in precise, overlapping, jump cut, cubist, multi-perspective, repeated, near-repeated, recurring visual motifs. there is a plot, but one others might render as short story or short novella. i am fascinated, i am frustrated- because i wish i could do this, could write this! i up the rating. i try to understand why i so enjoy this but cannot much read becket’s novels. i think it is here the kind of desperate rational perception failing to see the world, versus the idea the world is not to be rational... i break my rule and add another by the same author as favourite but there is no need for apology...


i try to understand how it is so different from usual literature:

it is the precise, dispassionate, description of images that make up the story. these images are held together as if a montage, rewarding close inspection, in clarity unstained by the usual lit word characterizations of human emotions, metaphors, that nudge the reader to preferred reading, to competent reading, to the author’s obvious intent. there is freedom in reading, building, understanding, this story. or, rather, there is freedom that is not freedom. the story becomes not the plot, the characters, the theme, but the human life as rendered by images. all dialog is cryptic, evasive, suggestive, silent movie title cards... and order of the plot, of act, of dream, follows duration of consciousness and not clock and calendar... and situation, geography, society, is all inferred by reader and remains unimportant- though this is no allegory, no borrowed fable, nothing but these images of progress through the labyrinth...


labyrinths are often thought of as mazes, deferring or thwarting passage or escape, but this is not always the case. labyrinths are also meditative patterns walked in some old european churches that are meant to enlighten in each step... walk the pattern with close attention. it is worth it...


this is on in the labyrinth:

3rd time.

so, i am sitting by the pool on a beautiful day, without my watch- and decide to just follow however long it takes me to read this book, again. why now? because it happens to interest me, and more so than books out of the town library. as reading it, i realized one reason why i find it easier to read than beckett: the images, as it is mostly description, are rendered simple, clear, however often repeated. even as it is apparent this man, this perspective, is feverish and/or dying, the language never wavers or becomes complex. it does not ask me to inhabit but only to observe. much easier for me. think maybe i will try r-g’s later works again....


this is on jealousy:

2nd time.

i could reread this forever, i am so impressed- not at all disappointed since first reading it so many years ago. i have read yes but more importantly lived, and so this document- i cannot call it a novel, which sounds too simple, nor text, which sounds too arid. this is a document from the unnamed eye who describes everything we see, a viewpoint easily shifting through time, repetition, close inspection, abstract stage directions, description, detail, obsession- the mind’s eye, the embodied eye, of a virulently jealous husband on his tropical plantation. it does not matter if his suspicions are true, it is more important that what he cannot count, measure, describe, may be the thoughts of betrayal that infect every sight...


i think there is some error in barthes’ introductory essay- mainly eliding the importance of the soundtrack as his emotions intensifies- and i cannot judge whether this is necessary to appreciate these novels, because i remember them, i have now some idea who heidegger is, who is barthes. but this is judged robbe-grillet’s masterworks for a reason....


i will probably read these again after many more years. again...


1st time: at u, not for class, i first read this. so years (decades...) past. i am not studying french lit, of which i have only read verne, hugo, maybe camus, sartre, not yet balzac, stendahl, simenon, etc. but i am somewhat disappointed in what i do read (english and american and canadian ‘classics’), so, off program, wandering, i come to the film section of the u library, and find the ‘cine-roman’ of ‘le dernier annee a marienbad’ which i happened to see in class and, not understanding, i really enjoy so i pick up the book...next is ‘jealousy’...

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