The Voyeur

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Mathias, a timorous, ineffectual traveling salesman, returns to the island of his birth after a long absence. Two days later, a thirteen-year-old girl is found drowned and mutilated. With eerie precision, Robbe-Grillet puts us at the scene of the crime and takes us inside Mathias’s mind, artfully enlisting us as detective hot on the trail of a homocidal maniac. A triumphant display of the techniques of the “new novel,” The Voyeur achieves the impossible feat of keeping us utterly engrossed in the mystery of the child’s murder while systematically raising doubts about whether it really occurred.
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About the author

Writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet was born in Brest, France in 1922. Robbe-Grillet's first novel, The Erasers (1953) is considered to be one of the first books of the nouveau roman, or new novel, in which external reality is more important than character or plot. His other works included The Voyeur (1955), Jealousy (1957) and Djinn (1981). He worked in the film industry as a writer, actor and director. He died at the age of 85 on February 18, 2008.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Jun 23, 2015
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780802190567
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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We are in the bombed-out Berlin of 1949, after the Second World War, rendered with an atmosphere reminiscent of Orson Welles’ The Third Man. Henri Robin, a special agent of the French secret service, arrives in the ruined former capital to which he feels linked by a vague but recurrent childhood memory. But the real purpose of his mission has not been revealed to him, for his superiors have decided to afford him only as much information as is indispensable for the action expected of his blind loyalty. But nothing is what it seems, and matters do not turn out as anticipated.

Indeed, the events that punctuate the secret agent’s stay in Berlin are liable to abrupt transitions, thrilling and questionable in equal measure: a shooting, a kidnapping, druggings, encounters with pimps and teenage whores, police interrogations, even some elegantly staged torture. These bloody events take place amid thick fog along the city’s canals, and even more mysterious narrative tricks. Robin—or is the narrator actually twin brothers?—falls in love with a mysterious woman named Jo Kast (a reference to Oedipus’s mother Jocasta). Her teenaged daughter Gegenecke (the German translation of Antigone), a provocative blonde, will form a strange partnership reminiscent of the blind Oedipus led into exile by Antigone. Dupont, the hero of The Erasers, returns here as van Brucke (both names mean “Of the Bridge,” one in French, the other in German). In this astonishing fictional cat-and-mouse game, reminiscent of Daedalus’s labyrinth, nothing that is remembered can be altogether true, but only what is remembered can be real.

Readers of Robbe-Grillet’s novel Erasers will recognize, as the secret agent of Repetition slowly becomes aware that he was in Berlin before—as a child, with his mother, perhaps looking for his father—the same allusions to bits and pieces of the Oedipus story built into the hero’s own. Indeed “erasing” a story by retelling it is the central motif of all Robbe-Grillet’s fiction and films, of which this latest and probably last novel is in many ways the most revealing and triumphant version.
Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American lit-erature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—novels of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer. Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war. This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical responses and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive; and a selection of advertisements from the original publishing campaign that helped turn Catch-22 into a cultural phenomenon. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.
A l’été 51, Alain Robbe-Grillet rencontre Catherine Rstakian. Très amoureux, jaloux, parfois de mauvaise foi, il lui adresse des déclarations enflammées, tandis que sa compagne tout aussi passionnée tente les premières années de récupérer les lettres qu’elle lui envoie. Car les amants doivent se cacher de l'entourage de Catherine, et usent de subterfuges pour se retrouver dans des cafés ou des hôtels. Ils ne se marieront qu’en octobre 1957, mais ne cesseront jamais de s’écrire. Cette correspondance amoureuse, qui dévoile un Alain Robbe-Grillet très sentimental, regorge d’informations sur son activité littéraire, la publication de ses textes et leur réception dans la presse. Il y est aussi question forcément du Nouveau Roman, de ses relations houleuses avec Butor ou Sarraute, de ses « poulains » Claude Ollier et Claude Simon, de son éditeur Jérôme Lindon. Entré comme lecteur chez Minuit en 1955, l’écrivain devient rapidement le conseiller littéraire de Lindon, et participera notamment à la création du Prix Médicis. Quant à Catherine Robbe-Grillet, comédienne de théâtre à ses débuts, elle se révèle cinéphile, amateur d’opéra et de théâtre. Lectrice boulimique, elle soutient avec ferveur les travaux de son compagnon, lui signalant tout ce qu’elle lit et entend sur lui. Les années passant, elle évoque avec liberté les personnes qu’elle fréquente ou séduit, et va prendre son envol sous le nom de plume de Jean de Berg. Ce volume extrêmement vivant retrace une époque pittoresque où l’on croise artistes, écrivains, cinéastes, traducteurs, universitaires, jolies créatures, et met en scène un couple attachant, authentique et plein d’humour. Ouvrage publié avec le concours du Centre National du Livre et la Fondation La Poste
We are in the bombed-out Berlin of 1949, after the Second World War, rendered with an atmosphere reminiscent of Orson Welles’ The Third Man. Henri Robin, a special agent of the French secret service, arrives in the ruined former capital to which he feels linked by a vague but recurrent childhood memory. But the real purpose of his mission has not been revealed to him, for his superiors have decided to afford him only as much information as is indispensable for the action expected of his blind loyalty. But nothing is what it seems, and matters do not turn out as anticipated.

Indeed, the events that punctuate the secret agent’s stay in Berlin are liable to abrupt transitions, thrilling and questionable in equal measure: a shooting, a kidnapping, druggings, encounters with pimps and teenage whores, police interrogations, even some elegantly staged torture. These bloody events take place amid thick fog along the city’s canals, and even more mysterious narrative tricks. Robin—or is the narrator actually twin brothers?—falls in love with a mysterious woman named Jo Kast (a reference to Oedipus’s mother Jocasta). Her teenaged daughter Gegenecke (the German translation of Antigone), a provocative blonde, will form a strange partnership reminiscent of the blind Oedipus led into exile by Antigone. Dupont, the hero of The Erasers, returns here as van Brucke (both names mean “Of the Bridge,” one in French, the other in German). In this astonishing fictional cat-and-mouse game, reminiscent of Daedalus’s labyrinth, nothing that is remembered can be altogether true, but only what is remembered can be real.

Readers of Robbe-Grillet’s novel Erasers will recognize, as the secret agent of Repetition slowly becomes aware that he was in Berlin before—as a child, with his mother, perhaps looking for his father—the same allusions to bits and pieces of the Oedipus story built into the hero’s own. Indeed “erasing” a story by retelling it is the central motif of all Robbe-Grillet’s fiction and films, of which this latest and probably last novel is in many ways the most revealing and triumphant version.
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