Re: RARA-AVIS: Jealousy

From: Robert Elkin (
Date: 21 Oct 2007

Mike-- Does your copy also include a second novel, having to do with a labyrinth? Also, RG's got a book on what he refers to as "The New Novel," which is kind of interesting, & if I remember right, might discuss his tactics in JEALOUSY [unless I'm thinking of the Barthes essay?]). Rob

----- Original Message ---- From: Michael Robison <> To: Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 3:31:36 PM Subject: RARA-AVIS: Jealousy


            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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