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The Voyeur [Paperback]

Alain Robbe-Grillet , Richard Howard

RRP: 9.99
Price: 8.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

13 Mar 2012
When Mathias, a travelling watch salesman, returns after many years to the island of his birth, a young girl is found dead on the rocks. As Mathias makes an increasingly tense recapitulation of his movements on the day of the event, tiny details slowly and inexorably accumulate. Through the warped screen of his distorted mind, the remembered images pile up until the reader is caught in his web of desperation. And yet in the end reality has lost all meaning, as the distinction between the narrator's recollections and the underlying facts are more and more blurred. This brilliantly executed novel, which showcases all the techniques that have secured Robbe-Grillet's place in the canon of Western literature, leaves behind a disturbing sense of unrest.

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Review

'I doubt that fiction as art can any longer be seriously discussed without Robbe-Grillet.' - The New York Times

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden motifs 22 Jun 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If the american reading public wanted to one-up the chill factor in reading, this would be a great place to start. Who "the voyeur" even is is up to debate. Is it the little girl who may have seen the murder? Or is it the salesman? At any rate a good read because it is extremely eerie and makes Stephen King's prose look very banal. If one reads it within a few days the effect is much more powerful: The book is very subliminal, and is very much like dreaming while awake. What is missing is what makes it alluring, though in truth we know who is guilty... the book is very much projected onto the reader; what role you play in the book is given an edge: You are forced to be literary critic. I have read that some critics call attention to a particulary shocking section (Stravrogin's confession) in Dostoevsky's "The Devils" which was at first censored in Russia. A murder mystery with philosophical tones just barely creeping under the surface; always a plus in any murder mystery. Such an anomalous book it will not leave your brain anytime soon.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a mystery 23 July 2003
By "ncodyjapan" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A novel that is meant to be reread after the initial reading. The enjoyment that comes with reading and rereading it will come from solving the puzzle. The novel proposes questions that the curious will want to answer. Who is Mathias? Did he murder Jacqueline? Who is this other girl Violet? What is the difference between fact and fiction in the novel? Unlike ordinary writers of suspense or mystery stories, Robbe-Grillet does not give away the answers. Like another great writer, Vladimir Nabokov, Robbe-Grillet knows his readers will get more joy from discovering the answers for themselves.
The hints, like details begging to be noticed and solved, are sprinkled throughout the novel. Remember the billboard that reads "Monsieur X On The Double Circuit." Mathias can't make sense of it, guessing (wrongly) that it must be about some movie, a coming-attraction, a thriller. Mathias is Monsieur X; the double circuit is the island, the plot.
If others want to offer answers I will check back to read them. I'm not sure of my own conclusions yet. I have some rereading to do first.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eyes Like Daggers 9 Jan 2001
By Eric Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel seems much longer than it actually is. The "action" is dragged out and you begin to find Mathias' obsessive plans to sell his watches tedious, but there is something oddly compelling about it that makes you read on. Lingering behind his figure eight strategies is the death of a disreputable girl and this is what keeps you on the edge of your seat, sick with worry and anxiety. Even though we are following Mathias incredibly closely in all his movements we still don't feel we know him. This is largely because we are made to understand that Mathias doesn't know anything about himself. There is a distinction made between "the salesman" and Mathias. It indicates there is an impersonal aspect to him we will never know. He is constantly being made into an impersonal and stereotypical type of person and the reader is forced to search for details that will connect him with a personal experience. His past is portrayed as an impenetrable muddy mess. "it was useless trying to stir up his memories, he didn't even know what he should be looking for." You gather that the world will in a sense always remain unknowable because of our limited personal perspective. In a sense each person's perception causes harm to what they perceive by limiting it by our own values and labels. This is the murderer and the mystery is how to disassemble our own code of perception. This novel is a fascinating exploration of these ideas and a pleasure to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Such things happen," the proprietress said. 25 Feb 2006
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Voyeur (Le Voyeur) was Robbe-Grillet's second published work.

Much like The Erasers, The Voyeur deconstructs a genre story (murder mystery) into a set of descriptions and commonplaces, freeing the crime itself from any psychology or motive. Robbe-Grillet tells us a story without giving us an authoritative ending and without bothering to explain any of the back story at which the text hints.

The language and the flow of text is fascinating, even in translation. The prose flows around the plot, as we see the main character's moments and ideas over and over again-- never sure if something is being revisited or if the beat is just similar to the ones that came before.

This book is often packaged as a "typical" murder mystery, which it is not. The text is often quite demanding and I found myself scrambling to make sure that I had read things correctly. It will need re-reading before I really begin to grasp it, I believe. Luckily, this should not be a painful task.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly delivered 7 Feb 2014
By Keith Allison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Came sealed in a pristine packaging. No damage done, and material was presentable as advertised. Glad to have made the transaction.
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