Novels aren't always about people; Here
is a story of loaded words and fickle phrases, a manual of the vortex of thought that language precipitates in the brilliant mind of 96-year-old French novelist Nathalie Sarraute. Nicole Meyer says "To read Sarraute it is necessary to position yourself differently," and it's a genuine pleasure to attempt her unusual perspective. Reminiscent of the writing of Louis-Ferdinand Celine
, Sarraute uses ellipses as a force that moves language and thought, though gently, as the eddies of a stream. For example, she muses over the words "I want to be a writer," and as with all language, finds that a flood of meaning, betrayal, and possibilities swirls between speaker and listener. You will never again view a phrase as being simply words.
From Library Journal
"But how to go about reaching you?" the unidentified narrator asks the disoriented reader in Sarraute's latest work of unfiction. As in much of her previous work (and it is helpful to have read Tropisms and Martereau, for example, before approaching this one), the longtime practitioner of the Nouveau Roman takes aim at the banalities of our speech (or that which is used by "well-to-do, spoiled people"), in the form of tired locutions such as "Do you like traveling?" or "Have you read it?" that disguise shades of meaning and bristle with the fear of touching on what one really wants to say. Sarraute does not follow a cohesive narrative thread, and, indeed, there are no characters save the pronouns "they" or "he," whose antecedents are tricky and elusive, in English anyway. The quicksand of Sarraute's prose allows nothing, including emotion, to settle and stick (the proliferation of ellipses makes sure of that), and the reader is left rather more exhausted than moved. For comprehensive French collections.?Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"
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