"The warmth of friendship between the two is palpable, with some comic teasing: 'Roland speaks quietly,' Robbe-Grillet says. 'I don't speak quietly,' Barthes objects. 'You don't speak quietly,' his friend ripostes, 'but you take the precaution of always having a cigarette between your lips, which, as you know [...] doesn't allow you to shout things out.' The modern literary event-goer wonders melancholically: où sont les Gitanes d'antan?"
Steven Poole, The Guardian
"The book's arrival in English should be embraced as a challenge to the many reductions of 'French theory' to a mausoleum of movements, -isms, and masterable ideas. A disapporving critic once called Barthes the Pierre Laval to Robbe-Grillet's Marshal Pétain, but this volume shows them to be eels - not quite a pair, not easy to catch, but always electric."
Times Literary Supplement
"The image of Robbe-Grillet lying in the bath reciting texts by Barthes that he has learned by heart is only one of many unexpected delights of this extremely engaging little book. The dialogue between Barthes and Robbe-Grillet at Cerisy - friendly fencing - teaches much about each of them."
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University
"Robbe-Grillet describes his friendship with Barthes as a literary love affair without intimacy: 'un certain type de rapport amoureux'. This paradox is traced in its complexity and mystery through the four brief texts of this collection in which the novelist explores the different phases of his relationship with his most eminent critic, laying bare their shared vulnerability and fragility in a way which compels the reader's attention."
Christina Howells, University of Oxford
About the Author
Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008) was a French writer and film-maker.