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Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books (French Modernist Library) Paperback – 1 Feb 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; New edition edition (1 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080326139X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803261396
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,377,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett on 25 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback
A contemporary take on the Proustian 'projet' to seize the evanescent moment or to render one's life decipherable ('lisible'), this is simply delectable - brief as youth itself (unlike childhood, which went on for ever), tender (towards his younger self), and not least extremely funny, as well as being deadly serious (when he writes 'I thought I was free; I was not' I am reminded of the Musset of Confessions d'un Enfant du Siècle). If it does finally dissolve into preciosity (8 synonyms for procrastination!) Bénabou's use of language I can only call sensual, although I know to les anglo-saxons this will mean 'only one thing'. I have to say I'm reading this in the original (all his influences, et pourquoi pas, seem to be either French or German) but if you've ever struggled through L'Etranger, do yourself a favour and try it. My only gripe is when he suggests (p70(top) of the 1986 edition) that words are imbued with a sense of mortality - surely no more than the whole shooting match is and, anyway, music when soft voices die vibrates in the memory - finitude, or the inevitability of 'closure', is all. So it doesn't, finally, 'go anywhere'? Does life?
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Arch and poignant metafiction (some will find insufferable) 23 Oct 2001
By Stephen O. Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This somewhat autobiographical sort of a novel, first published in French in 1986, won the Black Humor Prize. The most interesting part is a sketch of the author's background--as a child of a Sephardic Jewish family that had been in Morocco for four centuries. He assumed he was destined for greatness (as a writer) and sees this as a sort of ontogeny for the phylogeny of the Chosen People. Both as a 20th-century Jew and as someone who (like Camus) feels lost the paradise of living under the North African sun (living in the dingy, gray Paris of the 1950s), he believes he has a duty to remember.
The book about his nonbooks (the books he didn't write) starts over and starts over and starts over, but, aided by some very apposite quotations about writing from myriad other writers, details the ultimately impossible love of an author who can not bring himself to besmirch beautiful virgin sheets of white paper even to create the literature that would redeem his claim to be a writer.
Many people have realized that being unsuited for writing and even unable to string more than a few words together does not remove the desire to be a writer. Without venturing beyond the struggle with writing ) B?nabou makes being a writer who does not and cannot write archly funny and even poignant.
Life too short for Proust? Meet a fellow procrastinator 25 Oct 2011
By Simon Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An exquisite meditation on writer's block (he even fears not-writing and how this might be interpreted!) this is also an act of love performed on the French language. If you can read French at all, if you've struggled even halfway through the wasteland of L'Etranger, the heady vapours of this equally short book may blow your mind. It's also very, very funny
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