RARA-AVIS: Jealousy

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 21 Oct 2007

Just finished this novel by Robbe-Grillet. It's a short book and not much happens, repeating a few scenes over and over again with small variations. It's difficult to interpret the continuous repeating of scenes as much more than artistic self-indulgence, but the scenes do carry a solid literary effect. It's definitely well into the dissolution of self that is so popular in postmodernism, and it's the most successful effort in that direction that I've read. It was written well before the postmodern movement began. That probably has something to do with it.

The plot is related by a man on a banana plantation. He never speaks outright and never refers to himself in the first person. A woman who appears to be his wife appears to be having an affair with a neighbor. The narrative is objective, with little or no introspection offered on the narrator's part. Nuances of chosen details are needed to decipher his thoughts and feelings. Mood and scene and symbol interweave to produce a decent work.

Recommended if you don't mind a little artsy-fartsy.

There was an essay on the work by Roland Barthes included in the book. It was so off-target and bogus as to be just about worthless.


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