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In the Labyrinth

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The Battle of Reichenfels has been fought and lost. The army is in flight. The enemy is expected to arrive in town at any moment. Wandering through the snow laden devastated streets of what once was a city, a soldier on the losing side has a parcel to deliver. All the streets look the same, and he cannot remember the name of the street where he was to meet the man who had agreed to take the parcel. But he must deliver the parcel or at least get rid of it.

Alain Robbe-Grillet says in his prefatory note: "this story is fiction, not a report. It describes a reality which is not necessarily that of the reader's own experience. And yet the reality here in question is strictly physical, that is to say it has no allegorical significance. The reader should therefore see in it only objects, the gestures, the words and the events that are told, without seeking to give them either more or less meaning than they would have in his own life, or in his death."

The masterful translation is by Christine Brooke-Rose.

188 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1959

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About the author

Alain Robbe-Grillet

109 books363 followers
Screenplays and novels, such as The Erasers (1953), of French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet, affiliated with the New Wave movement in cinema, subordinate plot to the treatment of space and time; directors, such as Jean Luc Godard and François Truffaut, led this movement, which in the 1960s abandoned traditional narrative techniques in favor of greater use of symbolism and abstraction and dealt with themes of social alienation, psychopathology, and sexual love.

Alain Robbe-Grillet was a French writer and filmmaker. He was along with Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor and Claude Simon one of the figures most associated with the trend of the Nouveau Roman. Robbe-Grillet was elected a member of the Académie française on March 25, 2004, succeeding Maurice Rheims at seat #32.

He was married to Catherine Robbe-Grillet (née Rstakian) .

Alain Robbe-Grillet was born in Brest (Finistère, France) into a family of engineers and scientists. He was trained as an agricultural engineer. In the years 1943-44 Robbe-Grillet participated in service du travail obligatoire in Nuremberg where he worked as a machinist. The initial few months were seen by Robbe-Grillet as something of a holiday, since in between the very rudimentary training he was given to operate the machinery he had free time to go to the theatre and the opera. In 1945, Robbe-Grillet completed his diploma at the National Institute of Agronomy. Later, his work as an agronomist took him to Martinique, French Guinea,Guadeloupe and Morocco.

His first novel The Erasers (Les Gommes) was published in 1953, after which he dedicated himself full-time to his new occupation. His early work was praised by eminent critics such as Roland Barthes and Maurice Blanchot. Around the time of his second novel he became a literary advisor for Les Editions de Minuit and occupied this position from 1955 until 1985. After publishing four novels, in 1961 he worked with Alain Renais, writing the script for Last Year at Marienbad (L'Année Dernière à Marienbad), and subsequently wrote and directed his own films. In 1963, Robbe-Grillet published For a New Novel (Pour un Nouveau Roman), a collection of previous published theoretical writings concerning the novel. From 1966 to 1968 he was a member of the High Committee for the Defense and Expansion of French (Haut comité pour la défense et l´expansion de la langue française). In addition Robbe-Grillet also led the Centre for Sociology of Literature (Centre de sociologie de la littérature) at the university of Bruxelles from 1980 to 1988. From 1971 to 1995 Robbe-Grillet was a professor at New York University, lecturing on his own novels.

In 2004 Robbe-Grillet was elected to the Académie française, but was never actually formally received by the Académie because of disputes regarding the Académie's reception procedures. Robbe-Grillet both refused to prepare and submit a welcome speech in advance, preferring to improvise his speech, as well as refusing to purchase and wear the Académie's famous green tails (habit vert) and sabre, which he considered as out-dated.

He died in Caen after succumbing to heart problems


His writing style has been described as "realist" or "phenomenological" (in the Heideggerian sense) or "a theory of pure surface." Methodical, geometric, and often repetitive descriptions of objects replace the psychology and interiority of the character. Instead, one slowly pieces together the story and the emotional experience of jealousy in the repetition of descriptions, the attention to odd details, and the breaks in repetitions. Ironically, this method resembles the experience of psychoanalysis in which the deeper unconscious meanings are contained in the flow and disruptions of free associations. Timelines and plots are fractured and the resulting novel resembles the literary

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Profile Image for Amethyst.
185 reviews342 followers
February 26, 2017

این کتاب هیچ ربطی به فیلم ایرانی "ماهی و گربه" ندارد ولی سبک هردویشان با اینکه یکی فیلم و دیگری کتابی نوشته شده در سال 1959 میلادیست , یکسان میباشد (مفهوم تکرار زمانی در هردویشان به چشم میخورد) , کتاب "در هزار تو" قصد ندارد داستان مشخصی را تعریف کند , بلکه دارد یک شخصیت را در زمان های مختلف پس و پیش میکند و شیوه ی نوینی از رمان نویسی را به ما معرفی کند که نمونه اش را نخوانده بودم و برایم از این نظر خاص و جدید بود , اما از نظر سبک مورد علاقه ی شخصیم خب سبک داستانی را بیشتر دوست دارم و به طبع جذب داستانش نشدم (کلا به نظرم داستانی در کار نبود !) , هرچند کتاب را با عشق لذت بردن از توصیفات دقیق و پیچیده ی نویسنده و سبک جدیدش ادامه میدادم و با خودم تکرار میکردم که نویسنده نابغه بوده و چه حوصله ای داشته که محیط و زمان و مکان ها را اینقدر خوب و عالی و قابل تصور و تخیل مو به مو نوشته و مطمئنم که عاشقان رمان هایی که فضا سازی را در نوشته ها را دوست دارند , صد در صد بعد خواندنش حیرت زده و خرسند میشوند ... سبک نوین رمان واقعا برایم تحسین برانگیز بود درست همانقدر که بار اول فیلم ماهی و گربه را دیده بودم و همه میگفتند داستانش بد بود و خوب پرداخته نشده بود , اما من شیفته ی سبک نوینش شده بودم و در این کتاب هم شده ام ... اگر به دنبال سبکی جدید هستید و مثل این نمونه را نخوانده اید , به نظر من ارزش وقت گذاشتن را دارد...
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
February 10, 2015
"Then there is the electric bulb swaying at the end of the long wire and the man's shadow swaying across the closed door like a slow metronome."

The man walks out of the house, shutting and locking the door behind him. He steps down the three stairs to the sidewalk, first his right foot, then his left foot and then his right foot again. The serpentine of concrete takes him to the wide, gray expanse of the driveway. He is carrying a travel coffee mug, blue with London emblazoned in script on the side, in his left hand, and a truck key in his right hand. He is wearing green chinos with a black ribbed polo shirt. He checks a wristwatch with a blue face. He stops at the end of the drive waiting for a black SUV to pass before advancing, four quick steps, to the door of the company pickup. The man pulls a key from his pocket and inserts it into the lock. He pulls the door open and with a little hop slides his 6’4” frame into the pickup seat. He buckles his seatbelt. He puts the key into the ignition and twists the key igniting the engine. He puts his right foot on the brake. He then reaches up and moves the gear lever to the D position. He rests both hands on the steering wheel at the regulation 2 and 10 o’clock positions. The pickup, with a nudge of his foot on the accelerator, moves forward. He drives to the end of the block.

He moves his head to the left to check for traffic and then to the right and then again to the left. He takes his foot off the brake and enters traffic. He pulls the truck steering wheel to the right and then back to the left. He pulls into the left hand turning lane and stops behind a white Chevrolet car. He uses his left hand to turn on the turning signal. He waits, gives a cursory look over at the young dark haired woman in the sedan next to him. She is wearing smoky sunglasses even though the lighting is still very dim. She looks over at him and her lips part in a partial smile. He smiles back at her. He turns his attention back to the light. The arrow is green. He moves his right foot from the brake to the accelerator. His hands turn the steering wheel to the left and the truck moves into the lane heading East. He drives about 400 yards. The light at Central stays green and he moves through the intersection. He watches a small gray Toyota who is creeping up to turn right. The car stops. He turns his attention back to the road.

He drives till he comes to P Avenue. He removes his left hand from the wheel and moves the turn signal up with his fingers indicating a right hand turn. He places his hand back on the steering wheel and shifts the wheel slightly to the right moving the truck into the turning lane. He takes his foot off the accelerator and pushes down on the brake enough to slow his forward momentum. He turns the steering wheel to the right and then straightens the wheel so the truck is going due South. He takes his foot off the brake and puts it back on the accelerator. He turns his head to the right and looks at the pine trees that have been recently planted around a home next to the road. He turns his attention back to the road. He drives until he comes to the stop sign at Comanche St. He takes his foot off the accelerator and applies pressure to the brake until the truck comes to a complete stop. He turns his head to look at the fire truck stopped to his left. He waits for the fire truck to pass through the intersection. His head follows the red shape as it moves past his line of sight. He takes his foot off the brake and applies it to the accelerator. He moves through the intersection.

He drives another mile. He notices the 35 MPH sign and looks down at his speedometer. He looks back up at the road. When he reaches the entrance to High Plains Journal he moves his foot from the accelerator to the brake. The trees on the front lawn are dark huddled masses. He turns the steering wheel to the left and goes up the driveway. The lower parking lot is empty. He sees the white SUV of the publisher parked up in the upper parking lot. He moves the steering wheel to the left and glides into his designated parking spot. He applies the brake and moves the gear lever to P. He turns the key, which stops the engine and then slides the key from the ignition. He unbuckles his seat belt. He puts his left hand on the lever that opens the door and moves it 45 degrees toward himself. The door opens. He steps down first with his left foot, then slides off the seat planting his right foot on the ground. He reaches back to retrieve the coffee cup. He depresses the lock on the truck door and shuts the door. He walks ten paces to the door. Leaves are blown around his feet. The boom of coupling railroad cars startles him. He looks South in the direction of the sound, pauses for a moment. He turns his attention back to the door. He reaches into his pocket and pulls a set of brass and silver keys from his pocket. He flips them around on his fingers until he finds the one for the door. He slides the key into the lock and twists it to the left until he hears the click of the locking mechanism releasing. He puts the keys back in his pocket and reaches out with that same right hand to pull the door open. He steps through walks two paces to the inner door. He grabs the handle with his right hand and pulls it hard enough to part the magnets holding the door closed. He steps through. The fluorescent lights over the orange and yellow cloth covered cubicles are already on. The lights show everything in stark relief chasing shadows to only the deepest crevices.

He sees the office manager, a position that once was referred to as secretary, sitting in front of her computer. She turns to glance at him removing her brown framed reading glasses from her face with her right hand. She reveals blue eyes. She has short feathered blond hair. She is wearing a blue button down shirt and darker blue corduroy pants. The blue of her outfit is bisected by a brown belt with a silver buckle. A swath of skin reveals just a hint of cleavage and the large dark brown mole on her neck peaks around the edge of the collar.

“I have a missing order from the Iowa State Fair.” She says. He notices, not for the first time, that her teeth have the rust stain of kids that drank well water growing up.

“I’ll call the guys and have them pull their tickets.”

She turns back to her computer, putting her glasses back on her face. He turns to his office door. He pulls the keys from his pocket and sifts through the keys until he finds the antique brass colored one. He slides it into the lock and turns the key. He steps into his office closing the door behind him. He reaches over with his right hand and turns on the four 10’ long tubes of fluorescent lights in his office. He walks around his desk and pulls a black chair from where it has been nestled against the desk. He puts his keys on the desk next to the printer and his coffee next to his keys. The glowing green LCDs of his adding machine sets to the right of the printer. Both machines are gray, but mismatching gray.

He sits in the chair and leans back in the webbing of the back support. He glances at the picture on his desk of his wife and he at a friend’s wedding. He is wearing a tux that had been required to be best man. The frame is made of slate. He looks younger in the picture and has a moustache. He touches the smooth skin over his lip. There is an faded, tan phone with green and red buttons sitting to his left, the phone cord twisted in a Gordian Knot. He presses the on switch to the laptop with his right index finger. While the computer is booting up he looks over at the other picture on his desk of his two kids sitting on a bridge; they are older now. An inbox tray littered with white sheets of paper sets behind the computer. A silver tin of paperclips rests in the shadow of two scowling dragons holding a miniature sword used as a letter opener. A brass tin business card holder sets to the left of the dragons with JDK embossed on the back cover. It holds business cards with the name Jeffrey D. Keeten. Ink pens are scattered on his desk a blue one, a purple one, a white one with a green top and papers with columns of numbers marred by squiggles of handwriting.

The walls of the office are white. He has a picture of Golden Gate Bridge over the window facing into the building. If he shifts to his right and leans over a little bit he can see the helmet of blond hair of the office manager. He can see her jaw line and the edge of her glasses. The rest of her is hidden by the flaring edge of a filing cabinet. Over the door hangs a black and white picture of a young Jack Kennedy. To the right of the interior window is a picture of The Thinker that he bought at the Musee Rodin in Paris. Directly in front of him is a picture of the original dust cover of The Great Gatsby. To the left of that is a cartoon picture of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia that he purchased on a trip to Barcelona. To the left of the Gaudi is a watercolor of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Below them rests two gray speckled office chairs for visitors to sit in.

On the wall to the right of the window overlooking the lawn and Wyatt Earp Blvd is a diploma from the University of Arizona for a Bachelor of Arts. Over the window is a photo of a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. The blinds over the window are brown wicker, folding Roman style when raised or lowered. The window ledge is dusty, the crispy body of a dead fly hangs in the ragged remains of a spider web. To the left of the window is a three foot slender picture of the Eiffel Tower. On the wall behind him is a Van Gogh of the wheat fields. Below that is a portrait that an artist friend sketched of his face. To right of the sketch, half obscured by a pile of books on a long gray file cabinet, is a signed photo of the baseball player George Brett. Two more black filing cabinets butt up against the long gray filing cabinet.

He uses his fingers to tap the keys to enter his security code into the computer. He reaches out with his left hand and grasps the handle of the sword letter opener and plunges it into his throat. The pain is intense more than he could have imagined. He pulls the letter opener from his neck with shaking hands and lays it next to his phone. Blood gushes out on his keyboard and splashes the phone and the silver tin of paperclips. He falls forward. His cheek is on the keyboard and he can feel the heat of the computer circuitry on his skin and the whirl of the fan makes a soft echo in his ear as he...dies.

I had to kill myself. I couldn’t take it anymore.

This is a mind numbing way to write. Very difficult actually to strain out all speculative thoughts by the protagonist, only writing what he can see, and eliminating emotional responses. Recording everything one does and the way we do it was interesting because I hadn't really thought about how many motions are necessary just to get me the six miles from my house to my office.

An arm remains half raised, a mouth gapes, a head is tipped back; but tension has replaced movement, the features are contorted, the limbs stiffened, the smile has become a grimace, the impulse has lost its intention and its meaning, There no longer remains, in their place, anything but excess, and strangenness, and death."

The descriptions in this novel of mundane things add to the obscurity of the story. It seems to be a simple plot of a soldier in a city on a mission to deliver a package to a street that he has forgotten the name of, still one would think the inhabitants could set him on a proper course. From a creepy little boy that shadows him, leads him, abandons him to a series of women and soldiers who offer him directions and advice that lead him nowhere. While on his quest he is shot by soldiers on a motorcycle. The soldier finds himself back at the beginning lying on a bed staring at surroundings he has already seen, disoriented by not remembering the exact color of the drapes because he doesn’t normally have faults in his memory. There is certainly a Kafkaesque feel to the novel reinforced by a sense that their are too many obstacles to fulfill this simple obligation.

I actually liked Jealousy better, so I would suggest reading that story if you want a taste of the style of Alain Robbe-Grillet.
Profile Image for Scribble Orca.
213 reviews374 followers
September 29, 2013
Excellent translation; close attention and flawless (as the Observer observed) rendering of Robbe-Grillet's aesthetics and aims: Poundian repetition, the leitmotif of a labyrinth depicted in the glance of the camera and the selected metaphors, surreal landscapes in sepia tones (colours used are mostly associated with uniforms) creating a dream sense, the development of the speakerless (no omniscient author intrusion) narrative (here not perfectly realised, but evident as intent) via the paradoxical use of present tenses (the I-narrator appears only at the beginning and end of the book), the disorientation of the reader and the precision of detail (the latter eventually gobbling patience).
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 3 books339 followers
November 14, 2021
if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com

230419: read four times in translation Jealousy & In the Labyrinth so i knew what i was getting here. first time read in french, great for improving my vocabulary, particularly of nouns, as there is much repetition, much context, much exact or similar phrases. verbs all in present-tense, dialogue repetitive, evocative, dream-like, plot, description, physical movement, details of streets, cafe, stairways, hallways, lamps, street lamps, shadows, clothes, falling snow, gathering dust, gestures... all again and again, not much confusion of poetic or historic or literary expression. the early passages i love in translations... i love in original. fast read, sort of, because repetition builds rhythm. and i very much love this work...

maybe i would like to write this review in french that is not very good, spelling terrible, but if you are french or interested in french avant-garde literature, you probably know or think you know what early robbe-grillet reads like. and you love it or you hate it. so this review is for anglos who want to practice/read french and are tired of reading the usual L'Étranger or Le Petit Prince or... whatever. yes this is like nothing you have read, or i have read, in english. or translations from other languages. or probably other authors in french... i have previously reviewed this work in translation, in the grove book with Jealousy & In the Labyrinth‘jealousy’, but again this is my first read in french. i decide to read robbe-grillet’s other novels and maybe cine-novels in order of writing, though the u library only starts with Les Gommes and ends i think with Repetition... oh well. i may know my next 11 books...
Profile Image for Drew.
238 reviews121 followers
February 28, 2012
The best way I can describe In The Labyrinth is by saying that reading it is like trying to read a Klein bottle. Or an Escher drawing. And that's both good and bad in every way you'd expect it to be.

It takes a good long time to figure out precisely what's going on (not that you can ever be exactly sure) and the prose (or the translation) is uninspiring. There's a lot of what seems like unnecessary description of physical objects and locations, to the exclusion of descriptions of, say, the main character. Nobody has names; physical descriptions, such as they are, seem meant to confuse. The plot consists of a soldier with a package to deliver (from whom? he doesn't know. To whom? He doesn't know. Containing what? He doesn't know.), who forgets the name of the street he's supposed to meet the recipient on. Every intersection looks the same to him. He does occasionally meet people, who rarely tell him anything useful, which raises the question: does nobody in this city have a map he could look at?

But all these annoying things pretty much have to be present for the novel to work, which it does (probably better than I'm implying here; it's just not really my thing). Those same irritating descriptions of physical objects pile up to create a tone one could describe as "proto-Lynchian," if one were so inclined. There are heavy red curtains, everything's dusty. Nobody ever seems to have their lights on, so whenever the soldier has a door open for him it's always into complete darkness. Nobody's ever in the streets except this weird little kid who's supposed to guide the soldier but keeps abandoning him. One thing that's interesting, but also frustrating, is that Robbe-Grillet never bothers to get in the heads of his characters. This is apparently because of his rejection of the "psychological novel." Thus, no names, no thoughts, everyone utterly impenetrable. Frustrating for the first half, interesting for the second.

Would I recommend it? Maybe to someone who already likes all things French. But I'm not sure I know any of those people.
Profile Image for Algirdas Brukštus.
268 reviews116 followers
December 17, 2021
Puiki maža knygutė, gerai atitinkanti besikartojančius, nežinia aplink ką besisukančius labirinto ratus. Užburianti, hipnotizuojanti, keičianti sąmonės būseną. Tarsi koks ilgai grojantis Edwardo Hopperio paveikslas.
Profile Image for Virga.
228 reviews49 followers
December 26, 2021
Dar viena klasikų klasika, kai nesinori čia išlindinėti su savo komentarais. Čia keisčiausia, kad tikiesi iš to kultinio-programinio kūrinio, kad bus toks visai dirbtinas, techniškai novatoriškas, ir įdomus formaliai, bet neįdomus realiai. Ir nieko panašaus. Vis tiek įsijauti ir vis tiek pergyveni dėl to pagrindinio veikėjo, ir vis tiek liūdna paskui, ir vis tiek labai faina baigus skaityti, kad yra toks pasąmoninis aiškumas tik, o jokio siužetinio aiškumo nėra. Keistai malonu, kad daug galimų eigų ir pabaigų, daug spėjimų ir suvedinėjimų, ir visi negalutiniai.
Profile Image for S̶e̶a̶n̶.
839 reviews328 followers
February 21, 2019
It is a mystery with no crime and no detective. It is unsolvable. Or is it. Lucky for me the person who previously owned this copy figured it all out and wrote the five-word solution on the last page. I shall use my Ouija board to interface with the specter of Chief Inspector R-G immediately and report the findings.
Profile Image for Mindaugas.
15 reviews17 followers
March 6, 2016
Sapnas, kuriame veiksmas susimaišo, persipina. Keičiasi laikas, veikėjai, vietos. Lyg ir atrandi siūlo galą, bet po kelių puslapių siužetas vėl išsibarsto. Knyga kantriems.
Profile Image for Jeff Jackson.
Author 4 books468 followers
September 6, 2021
Along with "Jealousy," one of Robbe-Grillet's finest novels. An elegant labyrinth that's both an enactment of how stories are composed and an oddly moving tale of a soldier trying to deliver a package in a war-torn city before it's overrun by enemy troops. Slow to unfold - I started it 3X before it finally caught me - but worth the effort.
Profile Image for نوشیار خلیلی.
82 reviews48 followers
September 1, 2019
روایت خوب و ترجمه‌ی بد. تازه اولشم کلی تعریف کرده از ترجمه‌ی خودش.
Profile Image for Маx Nestelieiev.
Author 20 books140 followers
July 7, 2019
прочитав лише тому, що спокусився назвою, але читво аж надто не моє, американці мені миліші :) Роб-Ґріє, як і більшість митців до нього, доводить, що вихід із лабіринту - це вихід із життя, а кінець гри - це просто кінець. солдат, що невідь-куди несе (без)цінний пакунок, промовистий символ письменства, що носиться з ідеями як з писаними торбами, але вони нікому не потрібні, бо в пакунку - надто особисте, яке не цікавить загал. старі письменники не хотіли розважати, тому їх не читають.
Profile Image for Sonya.
455 reviews296 followers
November 11, 2019

خيابانهاي خلوت شبيه به هم اي را تصور كنيد كه زير بارش دانه هاي برف سفيد پوش شده است. پنجره خانه هايي شبيه به هم با چراغ هاي خاموش و پرده هاي كشيده شده،
مردي با لباس سربازي و بسته اي به زير بغل در اين خيابانها در حال گذر است. عبور چند باره از خيابان هاي تكراري در جستجوي جايي و كسي كه نام شان را نمي داند. سرگردان در يك هزار تو، آيا اين نوشته داستان اين كتاب است؟
اشتباه نكنيد اين سرباز يكي از تصاوير تابلوي روي ديواري است كه ما را به درون خود كشيده، نويسنده در حين توصيف اجزاي تابلو ناگهان ما را به درون كشيده و با تصاوير همراه ميكند، حتي به كرات خود را دريك تابلو و يا عكسي ديگر ميابيم، از شروع يك پاراگراف تا پايان آن سفري در زمان و مكان داريم.
در اين كتاب داستاني وجود ندارد و پر از تصاويري است كه شايد هر روز با آن مواجه هستيم، نويسنده ي توانا ما را با خود در لابيرنتي بي صدا در خيابانهايي خلوتي همراه كرده كه در انتظار هجوم سرباز هاي دشمن هستند.
در اين كتاب داستاني وجود ندارد و سراسر سرگشتگي است.
شبيه زندگي خود ما و شبيه سرگرداني خود ما در زمان و مكان حقيقي و خيالي مان و زر انتظار دشمنان حقيقي و خيالي مان.
پ ن: اين اثر از آلن روب گريه، نويسنده ي فرانسوي، يك رمان نو است كه از سنت هاي پيشين رمان نويسي پيروي نمي كند.
آلن رب گری یه می‌گوید: رمان نو ، در بدترین معنای خود ، باز هم نهضتی است در بدعت. خصوصیت نهضت بدعت ها  این است که به تدریج از بین می روند تا پیوسته جای خود را به بدعت دیگر بدهند.
Profile Image for Jeff.
634 reviews41 followers
February 27, 2015
I don't blame anyone for disliking this book. There are a lot of things reasonably expectable from novels and stories in general; most of those things seem to be or actually are missing.

A simplistic plot(less) summary. Events are told and things are described. Most everything involves a soldier carrying a box. He jumpcuts from nexus to nexus within a city with plenty of buildings but without landmarks. Streets are identical. This must be shown on a screen. Animated. Like with crayons. No. Or stop motion photography. Cards with the dialog written. Not many cards. It will be easy for me because there are no people moving about the streets with the soldier. A boy with a cape. A man with a fur-lined coat and an umbrella. One at a time with the soldier. I can draw that. But the many soldiers. And in the café. It's an etching, the eye ingests the patrons, bartender, and waitress within one. All sleeping within one army barracks hospital room. A sort of family unit inside one residential one-room residence. The soldier might be injured, sick, or simply unable to experience time. Normally. Or at all. No. I'm thinking of the narrator. It's snowing and he has a sallow complexion with a certain amount of days' beard growth. Or rain. Silent snowfall, even vocalizations, called speech, might not be auditory. It's all his thoughts. The tree falls inside a skull. I can tell you that. No one hears a thing. Read images of vision. I stopped summarizing some time ago.

So why did i care enough to read the whole book? What entertained me? I know that nothing within the three intro essays felt applicable to my reading experience. Did i like the book, though? "No ... Yes ... Maybe" is what i'd attempted to utter when i was the motionless ARG character inside me. But i think i was am merely the a narrator. Fitting the pieces of narrative and description together within me, as i encountered them, satisfied me. In a stretchy synaptic tingling kind of way.

Though Robbe-Grillet ain't evil for having an alien mind or a concept of The Novel that challenges mine, if there's a war to determine the fate of The Novel, i wouldn't be able to knowingly kill him and i wouldn't want to fight beside him in the trenches either.
Profile Image for Yani.
414 reviews179 followers
September 25, 2018
Para entrar en el laberinto que traza Robbe- Grillet hay que olvidarse de la fórmula que nos enseñaron en la escuela sobre las partes constitutivas de un libro: introducción, nudo y desenlace. Puede que sirva para la mayoría de las novelas, pero en esta no. Y cuesta un poco despegarse de ella, mucho más si uno viene leyendo libros que la respetan al pie de la letra.

De todos modos, se puede recolectar un argumento que sufre variaciones y es, por lo tanto, bastante fragmentario. Hay un soldado, hay un paquete, hay una calle que encontrar. Y también hay (y eso es lo “nuevo”, lo que extraña al lector) una acumulación de descripciones de objetos sin sentido. O tal vez lo tengan. En el laberinto marea, rompe esquemas, cambia de escenarios abruptamente, de voces, oculta todo lo que uno quiere descubrir mientras lee. Puede llegar a ser frustrante muchas veces.

Me enteré de que Robbe- Grillet se inscribe en la lista de autores que ya no usan las locaciones, los muebles y las cosas en general como un relleno de la novela que se mimetiza con los personajes, como sucede en Balzac. Los objetos están ahí (no lo digo yo, lo dice él en Por una novela nueva ) porque el hombre los creó y piensa en ellos todo el tiempo. Se puede estar de acuerdo o no, pero tiene su lógica y es para tener en cuenta.

Personalmente, me encantó. No me cruzo habitualmente con libros como estos y me dieron ganas de que fuera diferente. Por lo pronto, sé que quiero leer En el laberinto otra vez… y fijarme si puedo salir de él con más facilidad.
Profile Image for Conrado.
14 reviews
October 31, 2011
En el laberinto tiene traducción al español por M.A. Asturias y, consecuentemente, posee una sonoridad y un control rítmico exquisitos en nuestra misma lengua —privilegio al que pocas veces accedemos en textos traducidos. Sin embargo, el fuerte del libro no está allí.
Robbe-Grillet maneja una técnica difícilmente comprable: los juegos de repeticiones en los que introduce —o no— cambios dentro de la estructura mayor de la novela recuerda un rondó sonata. A su vez, la posición del narrador le permite confundir planos y realidades con soltura envidiable.
Las imágenes, por su lado, solo son comparables a la película de Resnais con guión del mismo Robbe-Grillet; y si a esto se le suma la originalidad de la historia en un mundo que poco o nada tiene que envidiar al borgiano se tendrá que acordar que En el laberinto es una obra maestra de lectura obligada.
Profile Image for SA®A .
317 reviews314 followers
September 9, 2016
بارزترین اتفاق این رمان ، توجه نویسنده به جزئیات است.چیزی که دقت و حوصله ی پر رنگ مخاطب را می طلبد .خاننده ای که می بایست تا به سرانجام رسیدن مأموریت ، پا به پای سرباز ِ نقش اول داستان درهزارتوی شهر،کوچه ها ،خانه ها،کافه و...راه بیاُفتد و همراه باشد.در این اثر با نامها جز در یک مورد ،سر و کار نداریم،دیالوگها بسیار کوتاه است ،با جمله های به یادماندنی برخورد نمی کنیم در بیشتر موارد درگیر نگاه کردن به توصیفات نویسنده از اشیاء و فضاها،حرکت و تکرار هستیم ،
میشود گفت «در هزارتو» از آن جنس آثاریست که که انگار حرف خاصی برای گفتن ندارد و در عین حال از پتانسیل بالایی برای نقد و بررسی از زوایای گوناگون برخوردار است.

در پایان توصیه می کنم اگر حوصله ی داستانی با ریتم یکنواخت و بدون هیجان را ندارید،به این کتاب نزدیک نشوید!
Profile Image for Armin.
139 reviews
September 29, 2018
جانم را گرفت تا به انتها رسید. کسل کننده بود و کند. کتمان نمی‌کنم که مهارت بسیاری در توصیفات به کار بسته شده بود و شباهت‌ها کلافگی سردرگمی در یک هزارتو را به خوبی القا می‌کردند و البته کتمان نمی‌کنم که صفحات آخر، هم‌چون آخرین صفحات ژلوزی شاید، اندکی بر جذابیت اثر افزوده‌اند اما در نهایت این اثری نبود که بپسندم و دوستش داشته باشم. به قول فرهنگی‌ها، از نوع من نبود.
هنوز بهترین اثر روب گری‌یه به گمانم شاهد است.
Profile Image for Haman.
270 reviews50 followers
October 17, 2014
دستی در هوا مانده, دهانی باز مانده, سری یک وری مانده, اما تنش جای حرکت را گرفته چهره ها کج و معوج شده, دست و پاها خشک شده, لبخند بدل شده به شکلک, هوس ها قصد و معنایشان را از دست داده اند. به جای شان, دیگر چیزی باقی نیست, هیچ چیز جز افراط, و غرابت, و مرگ
Profile Image for Mostafa.
363 reviews10 followers
March 27, 2017
کتاب بشدت توصیفیه
توصیف مکان با جزئیات زیاد، اصلا درگیر شخصیتها نیست، بیشتر خط سیر اونها رو دنبال میکنه و خیلی شکسته و درهم زمان و مکان رو قاطی میکنه بطوری که آخر کتاب میتونید دید کلی از اونچه رخ داد رو داشته باشید
به مذاق من خوش نیامد!
Profile Image for Mona.
484 reviews283 followers
September 6, 2015
Read this ages ago. Don't remember much about it, except that it was very haunting.
Profile Image for Iva.
389 reviews36 followers
February 12, 2018
Чомусь весь час прочитання перед очима вспливали образи якоїсь дичайшої радянської анімації типу цієї дичі, бо і сюжет нам передається статичними кадрами, візуальними образами, які буває боляче сприймати через грубе поводження автора зі словами. Але прочитав я цю книжку від сили за дві години, і післясмак вона лишила гіркаво-прекрасний.

Стиль написання аж невиносно описовий,через що заблукати у тексті, наче в тому лабіринті, надлегко. Гарячковість та сплутаність свідомості оповіді лише посилює ефект.

Ніколи не став би шукати нічого схожого.
Profile Image for Katrine Solvaag.
Author 1 book10 followers
June 2, 2018
A strange experimental read that feels like a half-forgotten memory. You wander down the same streets, pass the same houses, in search of a meeting spot you cannot remember the name of for a purpose you can no longer recall. The snow falls, doors creak open and lights are turned out. A challenge in the beginning, but well worth the read.
Profile Image for Sina.
11 reviews
June 23, 2019
چندسال پیش ترجمه دیگری از این کتاب با نام "در هزارتو" از مجید اسلامی خوانده بودم.. تصورم این بود که خوابی مبهم در این رمان تصویر میشود..

امروز که ترجمه منوچهر بدیعی را خواندم فهمیدم که سالها در اشتباه بودم.. این اثر بیشتر از روب گری‌یه شاهکار شخصِ بدیعی ست.. از همان سطر اول که توصیف برف و باد و راه رفتن در خیابان است، تا سطر آخر رمان حتی یک نفس نمیتوانید سر از کتاب بردارید..
پیوستگی روایت این تو در تو ، حقیقتا هنر قلم بدیعی ست..
رمانی نفس گیر و بی نظیر.. حتی چند قدم جلوتر از "شاهد" در رفتن از یک گوشه به گوشه ای دیگر از هزارتوی ذهن شخصیت و خواننده.. تابلوی روی کمد که کافه ای را نشان میدهد و از توی تصویر داخل تابلو همه داستان روایت میشود تا برگردیم به جعبه روی کمدـ
Profile Image for Ayeh.
48 reviews38 followers
September 14, 2008

" در هزار تو " تصویرگر هزارتوی ذهن شخصیت مرکزی داستان است . حوادث در داستان , توالی زمانی منطقی ندارند و گاهی به هذیان های بیمارگونه انسانی تبدار شبیه می شوند . چیزی که در داستان تعلیق شدیدی ایجاد می کند و خواننده را پا به پای شخصیت های داستان برای کشف خود پیش می برد , جعبه ای است قهوه ای رنگ در دستان شخصیت مرکزی داستان که باعث می شود با کنجکاوی بیشتری به خواندن ادامه دهد . شخصیت ها اسمی ندارند و خیابان ها همه شبیه هم هستند . بازهم هزارتویی که هرچه بیشتر در آن به جلو می روی انگار به همان جایی بر می گردی که در آغاز بودی!
Profile Image for Jen Well-Steered.
338 reviews4 followers
October 2, 2013
Ce que j'ai aimé: Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais j'adore la littérature absurde, comme Ionesco, Dali et Robbe-Grillet. Donc j'ai bien aimé ce livre, où le protagoniste se trouve dans une situation sans objet, et il fait des actions sans signification.

Ce que je n'ai pas aimé: Bien que je préfère la fiction absurdiste, il est aussi vrai que j'aime les histoires où on a un peu de sens de la vie interne d'un personage. Mais ici, on a simplement une description de ses actions, dans les moindres détails.

Profile Image for Dalia.
5 reviews4 followers
August 30, 2017
کتابی به شدت یکنواخت و عاری از هرگونه هیجان ..این کتاب سیر خطی داستان (واقعا کدام داستان ؟) و مفهوم زمان و مکان را زیر سوال می برد به طوری که بارها هنگام خواندن به این سوال بر می خوردم که مگر الان در خانه نبود ؟ پس چطور سر از کافه پیدا کرد ؟؟
و همچنین جزئیات بی حد و شمارش و البته خسته کننده خصوصا در 10 صفحه اول باعث شد که من این 10 صفحه رو در 2 روز بخوانم !و خب طبیعتا برای طرفداران رمان های داستانی خصوصا داستان های عاشقانه (!) اثر جالبی نخواهد بود اما اگر اهل خواندن یک اثر خاص و غیر متعارف هستید و اهل تجربه کردن تجربیات جدید و خواندن آثار متفاوت می باشید به شدت پیشنهاد می شود ...
246 reviews13 followers
December 8, 2013
Dizzying and often beautiful, more accessible on first reading than Jealousy, but maybe that's because I read Jealousy first. Some unforgettable scenes (people behind a curtain in a high window) and haunting portrayal of paranoia, suspicion, and perpetual search for identity, selfness, and the truth as it is. IMO, reading for the imagery itself is enough for the first time.
Profile Image for Jim.
2,569 reviews137 followers
December 10, 2021
Less interesting as one of Robbe Grillet's Nouveau romans, as the plot itself is rather thin and the overwhelming majority of the text is observations, detailed descriptions, and retellings from differing perspectives or points in time. Which, one could argue, is quite exactly what this is. Not what it is supposed to be, as Robbe Grillet doesn't do supposition, only reality as observed. Bleak, non-emotional writing, for sure. Stripped bare of assumptions and psychology, the narrative lends to a trance-like reading experience. I dislike and disagree with adjectives such as Kafka-esque and (David) Lynch-ian, as Robbe Grillet in no way attempts to be oppressive, surrealistic, defeatist, or somehow strange with his writing. For me it is best approached as a black and white film that is being watched and simultaneously described by the viewer, scene by scene, understanding when one pans out the overall scene may have changed from subtly from one's original, narrower, sightline. Seeing and observation and looking and watching and visual apprehension are key elements in Robbe Grillet's work, and here I find its greatest example, since the action, as it were, is minimal at best, most of it being explained after the fact, or reiterated from another perspective or framing of time. This book often made me wonder if Robbe Grillet is just "taking the piss" with his readers, albeit in a more seriously French Intellectual manner. Yes, the Nouveau roman is a remarkably different approach to writing AND reading the novel, but one could just as easily counter an unembellished litany of one's daily activities, a la a personal diary, is somehow birthing a novel way of approaching the written word. It's all observation, right, Robbe Grillet? OK, that may be dismissing the Nouveau roman as a thinking device or literary subject, but it is hard to argue that a detailed explanation of the plot of this book would take more than a page to write down. Still, Robbe Grillet's point is just that, isn't it? "Other" novels just banter and drone and self-pleasure the reader with endless, circuitous, tangential, or meaningless drivel about feelings and emotions and depth and metaphor and symbolism and boring shit like that, whereas the Nouveau roman just says"here it is, as I see it, which doesn't mean you won't see it differently, or that I might also see it differently next time, or not, and again the time after that, or not, but all I'm going to do is tell you things, it is up to you to accept, or not, what I put forth". Quite unlike what one is used to, and rightly so. While enjoyment may not be the word used to describe reading Robbe Grillet, I would say reading him is fascinating, as it forces a restructuring of one's normal reading processes, but upon completion also leaves a residue that bleeds through into the reading of other, less Robbe Grillet-ian, books.
Profile Image for Jacob Frank.
158 reviews
April 8, 2019
There were continual, unannounced shifts between scenes, between points in time, and between levels of reality (i.e. "reality" vs. painted image vs. photograph vs. memory). There was an enormous amount of intentional repetition, with only slight variation, forcing the reader to be attentive for new information and to resist boredom and confusion. Lastly there was the author's own preface stating that the story is not to be read allegorically or symbolically or even as an account or version of an historical event. It is clearly intended to be an experiment in a different way to write a novel; but it does not read as a fun experiment, in the way that Joyce or Burroughs typically do. There is something captivating or entrancing about the book that draws the reader forward, but I can't say it's an enjoyable read, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were actually looking for an example of a difficult, slightly unpleasant post-modern novel. It bears some resemblance to Beckett's trilogy, but, again, I found there to be something fun or quaint about Beckett, something lacking in Robbe-Grillet... Oh well.
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