Wednesday, May 31, 2006

French writers

I had good intentions for reading a stack of novels during my beach vacation, but mostly I just studied the waves, the pelicans, and the sandpipers in between napping like a gator in the Florida sun. I did finish The Pure and the Impure by Colette, which was a pleasant read for lounging on the beach. It was more reportage than novel--apparently written as a semi-autobiographical look back at her life, reflecting on the characters that she had observed over the years--and naturally, their philosophy of love, which one might summarize as "love'm and leave'm." But that is to simplify! I think Colette was getting at nuances that I couldn't begin to parse, as a buttoned-up, rather bourgeois Americaine! But it picqued my interest in reading her stories, so I'll have to decide where to start. I think there are a series of novels about a character named Cherie--any Collete afficionados out there?

When I got home, I read another short novel by a French writer that I've heard a lot about as the "granddaddy" of the post-modern novel--Alain Robbe-Grillet. The novel was a very creepy mystery (for lack of a better description) called The Voyeur. Very interesting technically--I'd like to learn more about him. This novel was published in 1958, I think.

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