Picked up Robbe-Grillet's Jealousy/In The Labyrinth, I don't know what possessed me to give this a try. Maybe I've been reading too much Eco? But here I am, and sunken cost fallacy be damned I will finish this book. Barthes' intro essay was interesting (and I haven't read Morrissette's or Minor's essays, sorry I went for the name I recognized) although it took 2000 more words than necessary to say that Robbe-Grillet has the amazing skill of writing a novel like one might write problems in a mathematical text, ie, when he describes something you don't really take it in as anything more than factual phenomena. Why is the table 1m wide? It just is and to think otherwise is to miss the point.*
Which is I suppose is legit an achievement, since most writers tune the mood of the world up or down to accompany their story. One might think that at the worst end of the scale sits dystopic fiction writers who make it feel like the universe is out to get you -- but Robbe-Grillet's universe is at the absolute zero: there exists no meaning one way or another, which in a sense is even harsher and colder than the universe's boot in your face.
* for the record: I don't agree with this universe; I agree with William Gibson (and I can't for the life of me remember the interview where he said this) that you can pick up a mass-manufactured disposable hot coffee container and write a whole book on how its materials, dimensions, and other specifications came to be. But that's a ramble for another day.
- ► 2012 (13)