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La Jalousie ✅ La Jalousie PDF / Epub ⚣ Author Alain Robbe-Grillet – La Jalousie 1957 erschienen ist wohl das markanteste Werk von Alain Robbe Grillet dem Mitbegründer und wichtigsten Vertreter des französischen 'Nouveau Roman' Er hat am radikalsten mit dem tradition La Jalousie erschienen ist wohl das markanteste Werk von Alain Robbe Grillet dem Mitbegründer und wichtigsten Vertreter des französischen 'Nouveau Roman' Er hat am radikalsten mit dem traditionellen realistischen Roman gebrochen indem er jede sinngebende Beziehung zwischen Ich und Welt leugnet und die Dinge nicht mehr deutet sondern mit kühlem geometrischem Blick ihre Oberfläche vermißt.

10 thoughts on “La Jalousie

  1. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    “The world is neither meaningful nor absurd it uite simply is and that in any case is what is so remarkable about it”― Alain Robbe GrilletFor anyone interested in exploring the fiction of the Nouveu Roman New Novel Alain Robbe Grillet’s 100 page novella Jealousy would make for a great start a prime example of the author’s uniue style a style highlighting precise mathematical and freuently repetitive descriptions of objects rather than the novel’s traditional emphasis on inner psychology or stream of consciousness Reading this short novel set on a banana plantation within the tropics made for one uniue literary experience; specifically here are six themes most piuantNovel As FilmEnglish “Jealousy” is a translation of the French “Jalousie” and in French there is a second meaning of this word ‘shutters’ that is window shutters Actually I don’t know if any other reviewer or literary critic noted a third possible meaning camera shutter as in camera shutter speed working in concert with the aperture settings of a film camera It’s this third meaning I particularly enjoy since one possible interpretation of the novel is ‘novel as film’ that is the two main character a man and a women could be leading actors in a film with the objective 3rd person narrator as film director Incidentally Robbe Grillet was one of the top French film directors of his dayDetail Detail DetailOn the first two pages we are given a blueprint of the house courtyard and surrounding banana trees along with a legend labeling ten different parts of the house And throughout the novel the detail continues expressed in a kind of mechanical drawing length and width language descriptions overwhelmingly visual as if outlining specifics for a film crew to construct a set and do a filming Mechanical engineering like detail also applies to the surrounding banana trees for example here is a snippet from a full two pages description “Without bothering with the order in which the actually visible banana trees and the cut banana trees occur the sixth row gives the following number twenty two twenty one twenty nineteen – which represent respectively the rectangle the true trapezoid the trapezoid with a curved edge and the same after subtracting the holes cut in the harvest”Alienation From NatureThe way the author writes about man made objects and nature one has the distinct impression the two main characters Franck and A yes we are only given the lady’s first initial and three dots are in a running battle with such as engines continually breaking down as well as tropical heat the deafening racket of crickets the dark of the night and particularly one species of insect sometimes wriggling sometimes suished described in minute detail the centipede Recall how Albert Camus wrote freuently about man’s estrangement and alienation from the world; also recall how Jean Paul Sartre philosophized extensively about the alienation of human experience being for itself from objects and nature being in itself Alan Robbe Grillet was much influenced by both Camus and SartreAlienation From One’s Own Body“Franck’s face as well as his whole body are virtually petrified” A is “Petrified by her own gaze” Also reference is made to the stiff movements of both A and Franck movements in sharp contrast to one of the Negros described as having a loose uick gait Sidebar In Robbe Grillet’s novel The Erasers the main character Wallas is the one with the loose uick gait and the people in the novel’s city are the ones that are stiff or flabbyNovel Within a NovelBoth main characters are reading reflecting and sharing their thoughts on an African novel that has many parallels with their own lives in the tropics For me this was a most fascinating part of this novella At one point we read about Franck’s and also the narrator’s reaction to A ‘s discussing various other possibilities the plot of this African novel could have taken “Then Franck sweeps away in a single gesture all the suppositions they had just constructed together It’s no use making up contrary possibilities since things are the way they are reality stays the same” How about that; on the topic of things the narrator or possibly Franck echoes Robbe Grillet’s own disinclination to use simile and metaphor And by the way not only are there nearly zero similes or metaphors in this novella the sentences tend to be short and staccatoMetafiction anyone?“The sentences become shorter and limit themselves for the most part to repeating fragments of those spoken during their last two days or even before” Does this uote refer to the spoken sentences of the main characters or to the written sentences of the novella or both? One fascinating aspect we encounter – is the narrator really all that objective or is the narrator an integral part of the life of either or both of the main characters? The I contemplate the possibilities at every turn in this little new novel the admiration I have for its authorSpecial thanks to Goodreads friend Ian for suggesting we both read and write separate reviews for this Robbe Grillet novella

  2. Tara Tara says:

    What the hell did I just read? This is one of the most bizarre tense paralyzing novellas I’ve ever experienced Lying in wait within these scant few pages are the noxious suffocation and claustrophobia inherent in jealousy manifested in an extremely original shockingly cumulative way The reader is insidiously imprisoned trapped in an endless circular labyrinth of stifling oppressive stillness This confinement however rapidly becomes a perverse pleasure It both enervates and intoxicates; there is no desire whatsoever to leave The consuming addiction the taut closed loop of suspicion is allWhile reading this was exuisitely excruciating now that it’s over I find that I’m suffering even acutely from the withdrawal I need to get back into that singularly airless reality to submerge myself in that relentless inertia once To borrow a word from David Foster Wallace I’m completely aghasted Often I’m not entirely sure what to make of experimental literature but this I can safely say was a masterfully meticulous mind fuck of the first order The sensation I had upon finishing it reminds me of what I felt after viewing Eraserhead for the first timeRead at your own risk You may never truly escape But then you probably won’t want to

  3. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    The shadow of the column though it is already very long would have to be nearly a yard longer to reach the little round spot on the flagstones From the latter runs a thin vertical thread which increases in size as it rises from the concrete substructure It then climbs up the wooden surface from lath to lath growing gradually larger until it reaches the window sill But its progression is not constant the imbricated arrangement of the boards intercepts its route by a series of euidistant projections where the liuid spreads out widely before continuing its ascent On the sill itself the paint has largely flaked off after the streak occurred eliminating about three uarters of the red trace The uote above is representative of the type of writing you will experience if you decide to read this novella The narrator is presenting information to us through the lens of a camera leaving out any conjecture that we instinctively use to fill in what we can’t see or understand He never refers to himself or use the word I The first time that I realize that he is in the frame of the scene being described is when there are two people being observed and a third plate on the table The bus boy brings three glasses further confirming for me that the narrator is actually present and not just bloodshot eyes peering through a window blind In French Jalousie means both jealousy and blinds The narrator is the husband of a woman referred to only as A The other main character in this drama is a neighboring plantation owner named Franck His wife Christiane is only referred to but never enters the aperture of the scene The husband objectively is recording what he sees for us as he tries to ascertain from minimal information what exactly is going on with his wife and Franck Because what he relates to us is so devoid of emotional coloring it is as if he is an alien presence and will reuire human intervention to make sense of what he is seeing As you can tell from the opening uote our narrator is aware of structure like an engineer or an architect would describe a man made structure Mathematics also plays a role especially geometry The narrator is comfortable using mathematical terms to describe what he is seeing ”The base supporting the table consists of a slender triple stem whose strands separate to converge again coiling in three vertical planes through the axis of the system into three similar volutes whose lower whorls rest on the ground and are bound together by a ring placed a little higher on the curve”He over describes what he sees down to the most insignificant detail as if he is afraid of missing some miniscule nuance that will be the key to the puzzle He watches his wife comb her hair ”The brush descends the length of the loose hair with a faint noise something between the sound of a breath and a crackle No sooner has it reached the bottom than it uickly rises again toward the head where the whole surface of its bristles sinks in before gliding down over the black mass again The brush is a bone colored oval whose short hands disappears almost entirely in the hand firmly gripping it Half the hair hangs down the back the other hand pulls the other half over one shoulder The head leans to the right offering the hair readily to the brush Each time the latter lands at the top of its cycle behind the nape of the neck the head leans farther to the right and then rises again with an effort while the right hand holding the brush moves the opposite direction The left hand which loosely confines the hair between the wrist the palm and the fingers releases it for a second and then closes on it again gathering the strands together with a firm mechanical gesture while the brush continues its course to the extreme tips of the hair” This scene goes on for several sentences revealing nothing that gets him closer to understanding if his wife is in fact cheating on him Most men when watching their wife comb her hair especially long hair would find it a sensual experience His objectivity is depriving him from even seeing her as a sexually desirable creature Roland Barthes writes an introduction to this book and does such a splendid job describing the writing structure of Alain Robbe Grillet His writing has no alibis no resonance no depth keeping to the surface of things examining without emphasis favoring no one uality at the expense of another it is as far as possible from poetry or from ‘poetic’ prose It does not explode this language or explore nor it is obliged to charge upon the object and pluck from the very heart of its substance the one ambiguous name that will sum it up forever Alain Robbe GrilletI felt this growing unease as I continued to read this book The narrator wants to know if his wife is unfaithful but it is unclear what that will mean to him beyond knowing yet another fact Is he violent? Will the emotion unexpressed suddenly become uncontrollable? I do know that he will continue to record what he sees relentlessly trying to find something that will let him assemble the facts into known truths A truly unusual reading experience that I found strangely invigorating I have no ualms about reading the second novella In The Labyrinth In fact I feel like I need to read just to fully comprehend what exactly Alain Robbe Grillet is trying to tell us

  4. Lisa Lisa says:

    I can imagine the narrator being a well made robot carefully noticing every detail of the object it is asked to supervise but unable to put into words the emotions of the observer let alone the purpose of the observation I get detailed summaries of the dinner seating arrangements of the narrator's wife and a friend of the family Franck whose wife is absent for health reasons I get perfect descriptions of her movements and plenty of rational ideas explaining why she might be running late when she is out I see the shadows change as the sun moves across the tropical mansion and I register the sharp contrasts as well as the the smooth transitions of light I hear every noise and I dwell on the possible causes for those sounds but they remain inexplicable and unexplained The only reason I know it is a jealous husband and not a robot writing an anxious account of his wife's behaviour is that I make a linguistic semantic connection between the blinds les jalousies that are opened and closed freuently to offer various degrees of transparency into the room of the observed woman and the other meaning of the word la jalousie jealousyAn interesting novel experiment displaying human anxiety by consciously omitting any reference to it by deliberately just showing the surface under which all emotions are hiddenThe novel closes in the pitch darkness of a tropical night crickets making an intense noise that envelopes the house and the garden Nothing strange about thatAnd yet it is a chilling feeling As I close the novel I am worried But like a robot just reporting the facts I can't find any particular reason for that or at least none that derives from the text and not from my own imagination so I will close the review with the uncertain unsure statement that NOTHING HAPPENED

  5. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    JalousieThe word jalousie the French title of this novel has two meanings one being jealousy which was given to the English title; the other being shutters or louvres a blind with adjustable horizontal slats for admitting light and air while excluding direct sun and rainBoth French meanings are eually vital to the appreciation of the novel To some extent they've been lost in translationA louvre is a shutter or blind We look through louvres They selectively submit and admit the objects of the outside world to our scrutiny They limit and shape our gazeLouvres and lovers share their etymology Just as a louvre might be a blind so might a lover be blind As Shakespeare said Love is blind and lovers cannot see The pretty follies that themselves committipedes and LouvresThe power of this novel is in the set up rather than the character development or the plotWe see a colonial plantation farm house in almost forensic detail There's even a plan showing the location of rooms doors windows even the furniture not to forget the dark stain left by a centipede suashed on the wall of the dining room The book could almost be stage directions for a theatrical workRobbe Grillet places the characters in this house around meal time or cocktail hour We seem to observe them through the louvres However someone appears to be missing There's a vacant seat in the lounge room and an empty place at the dining table Does it belong to the husband of the female protagonist? Is she even married? Is the husband the omniscient third person narrator? Is he the one apparently looking through the louvres? Is he spying on his wife? Does he suspect she is having an affair? Is he jealous of his married neighbour Franck whose wife never appears because their young child is at home ill? Does this ostensible illicit couple even do anything that suggests a relationship? Do they only seem culpable because we as vicarious peeping toms attribute blame to them?Onset RepetitionRobbe Grillet carefully selects both the content and the seuence of his story telling to dramatise this set upWe read the half dozen most significant aspects of his story several times He plays with repetition But each iteration preserves the old perspective and adds a new one Thus meaning for the reader is cumulative a result of accretion even if at the end of the novel we're still not sure what really happened or what the real meaning waster Unconnected FragmentsRobbe Grillet gives us a clue to his intentions in the narrator's comment on a native song being sung by a road worker The singing is at moments so little like what is ordinarily called a song a complaint a refrain that the western listener is justified in wondering if something uite different is involved The sounds despite apparent repetitions do not seem related by any musical law There is no tune really no melody no rhythm It is as if the man were content to utter unconnected fragments as an accompaniment to his workBy the end of the novel these unconnected fragments have nevertheless cohered into a discrete workInevitably for a piece of metafiction there is also a story within the story or a novel within the novel an African novel or at least a novel set in colonial AfricaTwo characters the ostensible lovers comment on it while their own story seems to assume the shape of its narrative Franck describes the husband in the novel in a sentence that we don't hear in its entirety that ends in 'take apart' or 'take a part' or 'break apart' 'break a heart' 'heart of darkness' or something of the kindThe novel is an exercise in style one of fragmentation and defragmentation Can the reader reassemble what the author has disassembled?The narrative isn't supplied to us pre digested and easy to consume or swallow Much is left unsaid Even is filtered out by the louvres the blinds la jalousie It is forever obliue raw and uncooked We have to do our own mastication We are like one of the characters peering into its meaning He seems to be looking at something at the bottom of the little stream an animal a reflection a lost objectThe novel doesn't so much tell a story as suggest one We're permitted to sit at the table We are silent eavesdroppers on the other side of the louvres What is absent and not described is just as important as what is present and described Inference is just as important as implication The imagination supplies what the senses don'tA Proliferation of PossibilitiesLike the narrative and characters of the African novel the twists and turns of the primary story construct construct a different probable outcome starting from each new suppositionOther possibilities are offered during the course of the book which lead to different endings The variations are extremely numerous; the variations of these still so They seem to enjoy multiplying these choices exchanging smiles carried away by their enthusiasm probably a little intoxicated by this proliferationRobbe Grillet's experiments proliferate in just over 100 short pages They're likely to appeal to fans of post modernism Readers have to tease out the meaning and even then we don't know whether we're right However if we remain open minded tolerant and patient we too can be intoxicatedew spoilerThe Letter The Pretty Follies During the novel the female protagonist receives and drafts a response to a letter from Paris We don't see either letter This is a fabrication of the letter she receivesDear Anne MarieWhile I've been here alone in Paris for months desperately trying to negotiate the sale of our plantation for our substantial and mutual benefit as I'm sure you will appreciate I continue to hear rumours that you have been taking Negro lovers in the port At least you're not indiscreet enough to bring them home with you What would the servants think? I had hoped that your promiscuity would end when we left Paris and assumed the burden of managing the family's banana interests I also hoped that we could put your youthful affair with Franck behind us Little did I suspect that he'd soon follow us with his new bride Fortunately he has been a true and loyal friend to me while we've been in the colony I just wish I could say the same about you Frankly though it pains me to acknowledge it in writing I can't see any future for our marriage It's best we part company when we both return to Paris I am only grateful we have had no children I will deal with you fairly so you shouldn't ever have to worry about money I have always loved you but now I find that this letter is the only way I can and must express my loveYour husband hide spoiler

  6. Erik F. Erik F. says:

    A woman and her male friend sit on her porch having drinks and discussing a novel Her suspicious husband ? watches them through a nearby window's Venetian blinds get it? Jalousie jealousy and a window with slatted blinds Let's hear it for French puns Husband ? fantasizes about the friend's death Construction workers repair a decaying bridge on the edge of the property Woman writes a letter Friend comes over for dinner Friend suashes a centipede Woman combs her hair Crickets chirp Repeat ad nauseam in fragmentary temporally disjointed ways then mix in some nonsense about geometric arrangements of banana trees and the uotidian movement of a column's shadow and that's pretty much this novel in a nutshell Unfortunately I lost interest in cracking this nut around the 40 page mark meaning it was uite a long irritating journey through the remaining 60Before I continue let it be known that I'm absolutely in favor of cryptic challenging experimental literature but this novel simply bored me Any sort of fascination I might have developed toward its circular rhythms its enigmatic understatements its sinister atmospheres was uickly stifled by Robbe Grillet's mundane repetitiveness and Sahara dry prose — which was probably his intention In his essay Objective Literature Roland Barthes writes By his exclusive and tyrannical appeal to the sense of sight Robbe Grillet undoubtedly intends the assassination of the object at least as literature has traditionally represented it In literature at least we live without even taking the fact into account in a world based on an organic not a visual order Therefore the first step of this knowing murder must be to isolate objects to alienate them as much from their usual functions as from our own biology Robbe Grillet allows them a merely superficial relation to their situation in space and deprives them of all possibility of metaphor he intends nothing less than a definitive interrogation of the object a cross examination from which all lyric impulses are rigorously excluded Robbe Grillet's purpose is to establish the novel on the surface once you can set its inner nature its interiority between parentheses then objects in space and the circulation of men between them are promoted to the rank of subjects The novel becomes man's direct experience of what surrounds him without his being able to shield himself with a psychology a metaphysic or a psychoanalytic method in his combat with the objective world he discovers While these uotes help me to better understand the novel on a fundamental level I must admit that the concepts don't appeal to me at all and are at odds with what I crave from literature I won't pretend to have a thorough understanding of the nouveau roman or of Robbe Grillet's place in the evolution of the modern literary novel but I have a feeling that my emotional and aesthetic sensibilities just aren't meant to be in step with the proponents and enthusiasts of the aforementioned movement and author In fact the only positive remark I can make regarding this book is that there are times when it does an impressive job of conjuring its lone setting; it made me feel as though I had been transported to an exotic albeit claustrophobic and disturbing location somewhere beyond the limits of reality This to me is pricelessHaving read none of his other books my only prior experience with Robbe Grillet's work had been in the realm of cinema L'Année dernière à Marienbad 1961 for which he wrote the screenplay This unnerving dreamlike film does share some similarities with La Jalousie — except for the fact that I loved it Perhaps Robbe Grillet's experiments with temporality and objectivity are better suited to the visual possibilities of filmmaking — someday I'll give his own directorial efforts a chance Until then it will take some rather hefty convincing to encourage my exploration of the rest of his literary output

  7. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    A key text of the nouveau roman an unnamed ‘all seeing eye’ narrator navigates his way around an African banana plantation obsessively describing a potential affair between Franck and A in a state of continual present or ‘pressent’ as Tom McCarthy uotes from Joyce in his introduction In French ‘jalousie’ refers to a window making it harder in English to position the narrator as a jealous husband crucial for decoding the bookThe detailed geometrical descriptions of the house and its inhabitants form its emotional nucleus one can imagine the distraught husband poised outside taking notes and embellishing details This makes all the action and description unreliable giving the book its detective novel reputation is it possible to make sense of all the repetitions random scene breaks contradictory sentences suashed centipedes apparent car fires and form a coherent plotline? Look upon it as an IKEA self assembly novel Right now I only have the scaffolding erected I still have weeks’ worth of drilling hammering and screwing to do before anything satisfies

  8. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    UPDATE 0420 Reading this for the second time I found it much better thus I've bettered it's score Will certainly now read of himFIRST THOUGHTS 0619 below Still don't really know what to make of this It's no doubt cleverly done and highly original and it reminded me slightly of Georges Perec with its endless descriptions of rooms walls doors corners corridors being used in a symbolic way Things are repeated but each time from a slightly different angle but what everything amounts up to is left to the reader to interpret as Robbe Grillet doesn't lay all his cards out on the table He certainly writes outside of the box The construction of the story is most striking almost entirely written as a stream of banal descriptive statements like a series of stage directions For a novel named after an emotion though there is no emotional content whatsoever we don't know how anyone is feeling which lets it down in some ways It would benefit reading again parts may come together that I didn't notice before One thing is for sure Robbe Grillet does not follow convention Vladimir Nabokov and Roland Barthes both loved it Shame I can't say the same

  9. Jeff Jackson Jeff Jackson says:

    I was overwhelmed by this novel the tense repetitions disorienting looping plot descriptions suffused with seething emotion but anything I could say has already been captured by Tom McCarthy's brilliant introduction So I'm pasting that below THE OBITUARIES Alain Robbe Grillet received in the British press depicted him as a significant but ultimately eccentric novelist whose work forswore any attempt to he believable or to engage with the real world in a realistic way In taking this line the obituarists displayed an intellectual shortcoming typical of Anglo American empiricism and displayed it on two fronts first in their failure to understand that literary realism is itself a construct as laden with artifice as any other; and second in missing the glaring fact that Robbe Grillet's novels are actually ultrarealist shot through at every level with the sheer uiddity of the environments to which they attend so faithfully What we see happening in them again and again is space and matter inscribing themselves on consciousness whose task reciprocally is to accommodate space and matter As Robbe Grillet was himself fond of declaring No art without worldThis type of intense congress with the real can be seen even in the author's shortest offerings In the three page story The Dressmaker's Dummy which opens the collection Snapshots 1962 we are shown a coffeepot a four legged table a waxed tablecloth a manneuin and crucially a large rectangular mirror that reflects the room's objects which include a mirror fronted wardrobe that in turn redoubles everything Thus we are made to navigate a set of duplications modifications and distortions that are at once almost impossibly complex and utterly accurate This is how rooms actually look to an observer how their angles surfaces and sight lines impose themselves on his or her perception No other action takes place in the piece which nonetheless ends with a uite stunning twist as we are told that the coffeepot's base bears a picture of an owl with two large somewhat frightening eyes but due to the coffeepot's presence this image cannot be seen What waits for us at the story's climax its gaze directed back toward our own is a blind spotIn Jealousy 1957 this blind spot is the novel's protagonist Through a meticulously indeed obsessively described house set in the middle of a tropical banana plantation moves what filmmakers call a POV or point of view a camera and mic like node of seeing and hearing The one thing not seen or heard by this node is the node itself Phrases such as It takes a glance at her empty though stained plate to discover and Memory succeeds over in reconstituting beg the uestions Whose glance? Whose memory? The answer it can pretty easily be inferred from the novel's context is that it is the master of the house's glance and memory his movements and reflections that we are experiencing as he watches his wife identified only as A negotiate an affair with the neighboring plantation's owner Franck The effect of stating the hero's subjectivity negatively by implication rather than by affirmation is eerie and troubling His gaze becomes like that of The Shape in John Carpenter's Halloween or the entity in David Lynch's Lost Highway who stalks a maritally troubled house at night armed with a camera When we read that it is only at a distance of less than a yard that the back of A 's head appears a certain way we realize with a shudder that her jealous husband is creeping up on her from behind He is observing her in this particular instance through the slats of a blind or jalousie in French; and we through an ingenious if untranslatable linguistic duplication are watching her through two jalousies a double blindThe novel is saturated with a sense of geometry The house's surfaces reveal themselves to us in a series of straight lines and chevrons horizontals verticals and diagonals disks and trapezoids The banana trees as green as jealousy itself are laid out in uincunxes as are the workers who replace the bridge's rectangular beams Geometric order is pitted against formlessness and entropy On the far side of the valley toward Franck's house is a patch in which the narrator tells us using language reminiscent of Othello's that confusion has gained the ascendancy As A combs her hair the struggle between geometry and chaos is replayed With a mechanical gesture the oval of the brush and the straight lines of its teeth pass through the black mass on her head imposing order on it just as the mechanical cries of nocturnal animals shape the darkness beyond the veranda by indicating each one's trajectory through the night Geometry usually wins Even the tangled skein of insects buzzing around the lamp reveals itself when observed at length by the husband to be describing or less flattened ellipses in horizontal planes or at slight angles But an ellipse is not merely a type of orbit; it also designates a syntactic omission a typographic gap What's missing from this geometry is A the character whose very name contains an ellipse During this particular scene she is off in town with Franck As the narrator waits for her to come home the lamp hisses like a green eyed monsterEnmeshed with the book's spatial logic is a temporal one The second time we see the shadow of the column fall on the veranda it has lengthened in a clockwise direction the geometry of the house effectively forming a sundial In a filmed interview last year with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist Robbe Grillet's influence on contemporary visual art is enormous the author ponders Hegel's paradox that to say Now it is day cannot be wholly true if a few hours later one can eually truthfully declare Now it is night and notes that for Hegel the only true part of the statements is the word now Why? Because it persists The same word punctuates Jealousy like the regular chime of a clock Now the shadow of the column ; Now the house is empty ; until the day breaks nowThis is not to say that time moves forward in a straight line Like Benjy in William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury Jealousy's narrator experiences time or times simultaneously For Robbe Grillet who also made films writing is like splicing together strips of celluloid to create a continual present There are prolepses analepses loops and repetitions a process slyly mirrored in the staggering of the plantation cycle through the whole year such that all its phases occur at the same time every day and the periodical trivial incidents also repeat themselves simultaneously but the time is always now A delightful exchange between the husband and the servant boy in which the latter answers a uestion as to when he was instructed to retrieve ice cubes from the pantry with an imprecise now discerning in the uestion a reuest to hurry carries this point home All the book's actions and exchanges swelter in a stultifying oppressive and persistent present tense what Joyce in Finnegans Wake calls the pressantThe only escape route from this pressant from its simultaneity its loops and repetitions would be violence for the narrator to perpetrate a crime passionel against A and by murdering her free them from the vicious circle of meals cocktails hair combing spying But this does not happen Only the centipede dies again and again and again The venomous Scutigera serves as a meeting point for associations so overloaded that if it were a plug socket it would be smoking During one of its many death scenes the narrative cuts from the crackling of its dying scream as its many legs curl to the crackling sound made by the many teeth of A's brush running through her hair; then on to A 's fingers clenching the tablecloth in terror; from there to the same gesture played out across the bedsheet; then finally to Franck jolting and driving violently a sexual image that resolves itself into a putative crash in which the plantation owner's burning car makes the bush crackle As with Franck's car crash posited and then erased it seems that A has finally met a violent fate when near the novel's end we're shown a reddish streak running from the bedroom window to the veranda But no sooner is it outlined than we are told that it has always been there and that A has decided it will not be painted out for the moment So the moment the eternal now persists and she returns to sit at her desk as beforeA is a fantastic creation a femme fatale to rival Lady Macbeth or Clytemnestra in terms of her castrating potency Throughout the book Robbe Grillet associates her with the color green green eyes green irises and coldness She serves ice cubes each of which imprisons a bundle of silver needles in its heart A twist rears its head when after she and Franck return from their night in a hotel she taunts Franck whose sexuality has been associated with car engines from the outset by saying You're not much of a mechanic are you? words that cause him to grimace Later as they sit side by side our attention is diverted to the metal ice bucket its lustre already frosted over If A retreats from the narrator she retreats from Franck as well remaining inaccessible to both Perhaps the literary female she resembles most is another A Faulkner's Addie Bundren in As I Lay Dying who despite marriage and an extramarital affair abides refraining and recessional beyond the reach of both husband and lover and of words themselves As Jealousy nears its end A like Addie slips away into the blank areas of the book's geometry spending and time outside the field of vision as though commandeering the narrator's blind spot for herselfOne of A 's main activities throughout the novel is to read and write She and Franck use a novel which they both have read and the narrator has not as a cover to discuss their own situation right in front of him They also exchange letters The small spasms and convulsions of A 's hair as she sits at her writing table busy hands hidden from view lend the act of writing a sexual aura by implying that she could as easily be masturbating as ''erasing a stain or a badly chosen word In this respect there is something utterly perverse doubly perverse about her husband's perusal of her writing's residues the fragments of letters left on the writing case's blotter These too are geometric figures tiny lines arcs crosses loops etc but unlike the centipede whose form is marked so legibly across the wall before being erased and reinscribed over and over again here no complete letter can be made out even in a mirror; the text remains illegibleIn the interview with Obrist Robbe Grillet claimed that whereas the novels of Balzac or Dickens do not reuire readers since they perform all the latter's work themselves his own writing calls for active readers who will piece everything together Each work is like an Airfix kit or precisely an IKEA one since there is always one vital piece missing The final letter we see A reading has come not from Franck but rather in the last post from Europe from an unknown correspondent As she sets a blank leaf on her green blotter removes her pen's cap and bends forward to start writing one twist emerges Within the self reflexive geometries of Robbe Griller's hall of mirrors the ultimate blind spot just might be the reader

  10. knig knig says:

    Simply astonishing I’ve never read anything remotely similar To a very small extent a film like The Sixth Sense may carry a kernel of parallel in terms of narrative perspective but this would only be in an implied helicopter view pointA plot of sorts is cobbled together of a few sparse events A the mistress of a banana plantation in some hot non African country dines with a neighbour Franck whose wife and child are too ill to accompany him Franck complains about car troubles swats dead an enormous caterpillar the two discuss a book they are reading and make plans to go to a port town several hours away for shopping On the appointed day they drive out to the port but ostensibly car troubles prevent them from returning that same night and so they return the next day having overnighted at a hotel in the port town End of story Sound enticing? What do you mean No? Its very enticing In fact I had to read it twice to parse it apart I didn’t succeed fullyThe narrator here is nameless faceless and non interactive with the rest of the cast a chamber assemble at best That the narrator is in fact real hinges only on the dinner plate laid out for himher at mealtimes Inbuilt preconceptions on my part contexutualise this unknowable presence as the master of the banana plantation Namely because the title of the novel is Jealousy And because the narrator seems to be present during the cocktail discussions of carburettors and also because there are three alcoholic drinks being mixed by A but it could very well be a filial jealousy rather than spousal or even a paid companion or a cousin who makes up the party of three A stoic silent presence the narrator offers a rolling shutter view of the surroundings an enormous camera eye that pans dispassionately over the terrain rendering precise but unualified descriptions of subject object phenomenology and ontologyA generous read lengthy Euclidean perspective on architectural design and interior decoration in the beginning might daunt a doubting Thomas but wade through it to collect in the Minowski hyperbolic spacetime that follows Time curvature appears on page three although it took a second reading to absorb that point Ayou see is sitting down for the first time with Franck at the dinner table when she stares at a stained brown spot on the wall the centipede has already been suashed and we’re only at the opening salvo of this little temporal adventure Its not too preposterous to presume then that in essence this book never finishes the events are destined to loop over and over again in groundhog wartan ? modus perpetually This is already implied by the tightening spiral treatment of temporality whereby repetitions and close ups escalate until the book finishes in a grand flourish of reverse perspective at its starting point but then a second reread reveals no existence of a starting point and so the loop continues pendulously replaying events in a convexconcave enclaveThis juxtaposition of two dimensional space the trajectory of inanimate objects within four dimensional actualisation highlights a peculiar type of reverse perspective this kind on the Rightimage error

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