Do you hear them by Nathalie Sarraute



Do you hear them ? by Nathalie Sarraute

French fiction

Original title – Vous les entendez ?

translator – Maria Jolas

Source personnel copy

Go son, go down to the water
And see the women weeping there
Then go up into the mountains
The men, they are weeping too

Father, why are all the women weeping?
They are all weeping for their men
Then why are all the men there weeping?
They are weeping back at them

This is a weeping song
A song in which to weep
While all the men and women sleep
This is a weeping song
But I won’t be weeping long

The weeping song by Nick cave is about father and his kid like this maybe the father her is truly weeping !

Well in the time I spent away from blogging recently one the things I decide to do was start reading my books , well what I mean by that is books I have brought myself not been sent for review the last few years it has been mainly review copies reviewed on the blog . Well today’s book hasn’t sat to long on the tbr pile no I brought this last week in Belfast when I went for Millie’s funeral my dad , brother and I had a morning free so we set of for presents for my nieces , coffee in an institution in Newtownards and then my choice a bookshop in Belfast No alibis which had a sale on which I brought this and three other books for ten pound .Any way Nathalie Sarruate was one of a group of french writers that during early sixties onwards were writers of Noveau roman New novels , which meant each book they wrote was in a new style . She wrote eleven novels this is the first I have read by her and not the last .

Suddenly he interupt himself , raises his hand , his forefinger in the air , he listens … Do you hear them ?.. a gentle melancoly mellows his features .. they’re light hearted , eh ? They’re enjoying themselves … After all , that goes with their age .. we , too , used to have fits of laughter like that .. we couldn’t stop …

The opening lines as they settle to talk about the art and he hears his kids above them .

Do you hear them is a novel of voice spoken and unspoken . The  book takes place in an evening after a dinner two men sit with the latest piece for the one mans collection of art piece The father of the household and one of the mens best friends .Which is pre columbian statue . The statue owner hears his kids so is thinking of them and the chatting about art but also his place in the world what are his children saying about him . Do they see his collecting as foolish endeavour of an old man .Do they see him as he sees himself ? For him his object d’art are him the life he has lived all around him .

Alone now , leaning towards each other , the two friends turn in every direction the stone set before them on the low table .. the two misers tenderly stroke this precious chest , this casket in which there has been deposited in which is locked up for safekeeping , preserved for all time , something that calms them

The objects which hold the art is precious to them .

I have read a number of Noveau Roman books over the years and have enjoyed most of them so when I got this one I knew it would be one for me hence I got to it so quickly . I was remind somewhat of Thomas Bernhard Woodcutters when I read the synopsis and even when reading the book , I still felt the connection it has the same feel for voice Bernhard has maybe with Bernhard bitterness replaced with the sense of loss here . This is a book about loss generations as we hear the two men talking we also get the thoughts of the one about his kids and his sense of his kids not getting him .Also the sense of what we are is here like the main character I maybe see myself in my things my books my cds my pictures and most of all my memories .The style of Sarruate writing in this book is like a wave of voices that once you get use to it seem like you are in the head of the main character .

Have you a favourite writer from the Noveau roman era ?

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MarinaSofia
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 11:31:50

    Robbe-Grillet was one who impressed me when I was young – Le Voyeur (pretty self-explanatory) and Jealousy. I’m not sure if Marguerite Duras can be classified as Nouveau Roman, but her Hiroshima Mon Amour screenplay would fit into that movement.


  2. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 17:50:58

    Wow! How odd, Stu – I just sent off for this yesterday! Looking forward to reading it!


  3. Dagny
    Jun 11, 2015 @ 19:20:51

    We have one of her early books coming up at the French Literature group – Martereau.


  4. BookerTalk
    Jun 12, 2015 @ 08:50:23

    Confession time for me – I’m not conscious of ever having read a nouveau Roman era book. but if this one is anything to go by, I could be changing that soon


  5. Kathleen Parks
    Jun 12, 2015 @ 09:01:22

    Thank you so much for the Nick Cave song. You have a good heart.


  6. Mytwostotinki
    Jun 16, 2015 @ 07:32:40

    Haven’t read this book by Sarraute but it sounds very appealing. The Nouveau roman author I know and like most is Claude Simon.


  7. Trackback: Conducting bodies by Claude Simon | Winstonsdad's Blog

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June 2015


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