- Paperback: 103 pages
- Publisher: Calder Publications Ltd; New edition edition (18 April 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714503118
- ISBN-13: 978-0714503110
- Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Jealousy (Jupiter Books) Paperback – 18 Apr 1998
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From the Back Cover
Alain Robbe-Grillet is one of the best-known post-war French novelists, the principal theoretician and spokesman of the 'nouveau roman', the most important school of French contemporary fiction that looks at reality in a new subjective way and has changed our conception of the novel.
In Jealousy, Robbe-Grillet's most famous and perhaps his most typical novel, he explores his principal 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am aware that this review is mostly abstract but I believe that attempting to detail the style will reveal too much about the book itself, you honestly need to try it for yourself.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For starters, the book is written in first person, yet it never uses the words I, me, my, mine, we, our, or us, or any other first person posessives. When it's time for dinner, instead of saying, "And now we sit down to eat," the author says something like "And now it is time for dinner," and he describes there being three plates, and mentions two other people eating.
Also, the book is incredibly precise in its details. It names every tree in a bananna forest, spends pages describing a woman brushing her hair, and meticulously records where every shadow in every corner of every room falls, to the point that if he hasn't yet described a part of a room, you wonder, "Well, what's in THAT corner?"
As a result of this unique perspective, and of the author's close attention to detail, the reader forgets the story is in first person at all, and grows to trust the book as an exact, almost scientific account of everything going on.
But, what's going on isn't science--it's an affair. It's the narrator's wife having an affair with a neighbor, in a hot, foreign, plantation-style setting. As the narrator gets more suspicious and prejudiced, so does the reader. As the narrator gets more distrustful and angry, so do you.
This book is brilliant--it's French experimentalism at its best. It explores themes of love and identity and jealousy and reality (despite its author claiming he wants the reader not to find any intended symbolism in it, but only to observe it as one would real life). It's antilinear and unconventional, and explores several dark motifs, such as a squashed centipede on a wall that seems more and more violent with every mention, and with every moment passed in the narrator's growing rage and paranoia.
At times this book may be hard to read, but it's always worth it, and it's always genius. Buy it, but it, buy it, buy it. Your mind will never be the same again.