|About the Book|
This Dalkey Archive reprint is a brutal evisceration of bourgeois materialism, brilliantly written. The novel was originally published in 1959. Its essential reading, especially for anyone interested in the great works of twentieth-century France.Parisians Alain and Gisele are sick of living in their tiny, cramped flat. They cant have anyone in. Its just too tiresome! Alain, a writer, cant work when Gisele is at home. So without the hindrance of anything resembling conscience, they attempt by means of suasion to remove Alains aunt, Berthe, from her own fabulous apartment. Why does a dotty old woman need a fantastic apartment like that anyway? She cant possibly appreciate it as much as they would.Its all about materialism, overweening materialism that triggers hubris. The characters lives are comprised entirely of things with no self questioning or introspection. Their contempt for each other in their relentless quest for objects is appalling. The novel strikes one almost as a exposé, revealing an all too contemptible world.I was stunned by the novels brilliance. Perhaps because of the publication date it unspooled in my mind like a François Truffaut film--in black-and-white, complete with frame-jutter and emulsion scratches. Sarrautes contempt for her characters is profound, but this is subtext. I think its a wonderful book for Sarrautes penetrating use of third-person free-indirect speech and the psychological depths this device allows her to plumb.