RARA-AVIS: Re:form/formula

From: Shannon Clute ( clute@noircast.net)
Date: 30 Jan 2008

Hi Mark,

I'm a big fan of Auster, and was glad to see you mention the NY Trilogy here. As you pointed out, he takes conventions of detective fiction and makes something very new of them. The investigation is into meaning itself, how it can (or can't) be constructed in narrative, and how the meaning we find (or fail to find) is tied to metaphysical concerns. There are two other authors, both French, who seem to have heavily influenced this vein of Auster's work: Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Georges Perec. Robbe-Grillet's THE ERASERS is a book you might really enjoy, and is readily available in English. If it were avaiable in a good a translation, you would probably love Perec's LA DISPARITION. I loved it so much I wrote my entire dissertation on it. It's a roughly 300 page mystery without the letter "e." Some see it as a gimmick, but I think it's a deeply metaphysical work, about the relationship between transcendent knowledge and mortality. It exists in one very bad translation as A VOID (couldn't be called THE DISAPPEARANCE since "e" is off limits), but word was, a couple of years back, that a new translation was forthcoming.


Shannon Clute

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