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Jealousy (Jupiter Books) by Alain…

Jealousy (Jupiter Books) (original 1959; edition 1995)

by Alain Robbe-Grillet

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409726,011 (3.65)13
Title:Jealousy (Jupiter Books)
Authors:Alain Robbe-Grillet
Info:Riverrun Pr (1995), Paperback, 103 pages
Collections:Novels, Your library
Tags:20th Century, French Literature, Fiction, Post Modernism

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Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet (1959)



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Lack of traditional narrative devices coupled with shifting layered repetition of dubiously relevant minutiae results in reading pleasure of mesmeric proportions. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 5, 2014 |
It is written in purely descriptive terms, it's as if the novel is the stage directions for a movie -- all the movements & actions of the characters are described, as is the setting, and from this the reader is able to discern the plot. I usually skip over the descriptive portions of most novels and should have disliked this entire book, but I found it beautiful. ( )
1 vote ELiz_M | Oct 12, 2013 |
A man suspects his wife is having an affair with his neighbor. He searches for proof, for clues, playing the same sequence of events over and over in his mind looking for signs. When did it begin? Do they suspect he knows? How far will the affair go?

Alain Robbe-Grillet's short novel, Jealousy, covers familiar territory-- a married woman's indiscretion with her married neighbor. But Mr. Robbe-Grillet breaks new ground, or I should say broke new ground when he wrote Jealousy in 1957. Where have the French been hiding him since?

Jealousy is a third-person first-person narrative. All but one of the scenes feature the husband and wife entertaining the neighbor who spends time at their house while his own wife stays home sick. But the husband is almost invisible. The third person narrator never mentions him. Instead, the narrator obsessively reviews what look like unimportant events in a stream of consciousness style that perplexes as much as it enlightens.

Try as he might, the narrator cannot find proof of the wife's infidelity. Glances over dinner, pauses in the conversation, even a night spent together in a hotel do not prove anything. There seems to be no grounds for jealousy. But suspiscion lingers. The reader understands that the wife and the neighbor must be up to something. Why keep going over the same set of events if they're not? Soon the reader becomes aware that the third person narrator is the husband--that the third person is really a first person narration. Obsessed with his wife's infidelity, the husband has written himself out of the novel as he jealously examines and re-examines how his wife and his neighbor behave.

One night, the neighbor kills a centipede as it crawls up the wall during an uneventful dinner. This event is observed in such detail and so many times from so many angles that the reader soon believes it must mean something. But what? The neighbor and the wife drive into town, a drive of several hours from the banana plantations where they live, and fail to return until the next day claiming bad road conditions prevented night travel. This also must mean something, but again what are we to make of it?

By the end, the experience of reading Jealously becomes the experience of jealousy itself. There is no resolution, no linear plot, not much in the way of character either. Instead, the novel takes the reader into the emotion. Jealousy is the novel's main character in the end. It serves no purpose, it is not resolved, it has no single cause nor anything to support its existence except itself. Jealousy gives birth to itself and feeds itself as it grows.

Jealousy knocked my socks off. It's the best books I've read in a very long time. I'm thrilled to find something so fresh, even if it is 50 years old. I know it's only January, but this one is sure to make my best reads of 2011 list. Alain Robbe-Grillet, where have you been all my life? ( )
1 vote CBJames | Jul 17, 2011 |
I read some Robbe-Grillet novels when I was a student and thiught I enjoyed them. In retrospect I think I thought they were dry and sterile.
  jon1lambert | Nov 18, 2010 |
Despite its alluring brevity this is a difficult read, perhaps because of the translation but more likely due to the disorientating repeated narrative which requires close attention. Nevertheless, an interesting idea and something I'm glad to have read - real arthouse literature. ( )
  alexrichman | Aug 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0714503118, Paperback)

In his most famous and perhaps most typical work, Robbe-Grillet explores his principle preoccupation, the meaning of reality. The novel is set on a tropical banana plantation and the action is seen through the eyes of a narrator who never appears in person, never speaks and never acts. He is a point of observation, his personality only to be guessed at, watching every movement of the other two characters' actions and events as they flash like moving pictures across the distorting screen of a jealous mind. The result is one of the most important and influential books of our time, a completely integrated masterpiece that has already become a classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:23 -0400)

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