Repetition A spy tale whose prime puzzle lies in the philosophical intricacies of its own construction, Robbe-Grillet's first novel in two decades begins just after World… Repetition A spy tale whose prime puzzle lies in the philosophical intricacies of its own construction, Robbe-Grillet's first novel in two decades begins just after World… Fiction
Book Review

REPETITION (2014)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Writer: Alain Robbe-Grillet; Genre: Fiction

A spy tale whose prime puzzle lies in the philosophical intricacies of its own construction, Robbe-Grillet's first novel in two decades begins just after World War II on a train bound for a wrecked Berlin. The narrator, a French secret agent disguised by a fake mustache and haunted by a double, at first seems an Inspector Clouseau lost in the murk of a Dostoyevsky tale, as he gives pleasurably precise descriptions of a stakeout and a shooting. Then Robbe-Grillet gradually lets down his Kierkegaard and the book becomes a dryly intellectualized fantasy featuring footnoted revisions of the text, the monologue of a present-day writer, the ritual torture of a French schoolgirl, and the word Oedipo-Freudian. Suggested subtitle: This Is Not a Spy Tale.

Originally posted Mar 07, 2003 Published in issue #699 Mar 07, 2003 Order article reprints