Translated by Richard Howard
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 characters’ actions 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.
Robbe-Grillet is a visual novelist for whom perception is intrinsically fascinating but fraught with uncertainty.
The Daily Telegraph
The finest novel about love since Proust.
The novel remains striking in its originality, and Richard Howard’s translation from 1959 has held up well.
Robbe-Grillet's career was built on a sly and amusing paradox: of using fiction over and over again to undo the conventions of fiction. But how cleverly and engagingly he did it.
Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922–2008) is best known as the pioneering spokesman of the nouveau roman, a greatly influential movement in post-war French fiction, and as the author of Jealousy and The Voyeur.