A project for a revolution in New York by Alain Robbe-Grillet

alain robbe Grillet

A project for a revolution in New York by Alain Robbe-Grillet

French Literature

Original title – Projet pour une révolution à New York

Translator – Richard Howard

Source – Library

Let’s begin, what, where, why, or when
will all be explained like instructions to a game
See I’m not insane, in fact, I’m kind of rational
when I be asking you, “Who is more dramatical?”
This one or that one, the white one or the black one
pick the punk, and I’ll jump up to attack one
KRS-One is just the guy to lead a crew
right up to your face and dis you
Everyone saw me on the last album cover
Holding a pistol something far from a lover
Beside my brother, S-C-O-T-T

I choose a very old rap lyric from New York Band Boogie down productions themselves victims of gang violence in New York when Scott La rock was killed this song is about the aftermath .

Alain Robbe-Grillet is a writer I have had on the list of older writers I want to put on the blog over the next few years .He was one of the leading lights in Noveau Roman movement along side Claude simon and Maguerite Duras .Where each novel was an attempt at a new style and maybe change the way novels are driven ie less about plot more about place or objects .This book is maybe a perfect example of what Alain robbe-grillet had in mind , it has no plot , not much in characters .

The doctor bends forward .Kneels down on one knee and begins to untie the cords binding her ankles .the girls body docile now , lies prostrate as two steady hands part the knees , spreading the smooth brown thighs which glisten in the lamplight ; but the upper part of the body does not lie flat because pf the arms which remain bound together behind the back .

a very Visceral style of writing can be brutal at times .

The book is set in an alternative New York of underground gangs and gang violence .Rather like  what actually happened in the late seventies and early eighties when the gang culture took over the city at times .This book follows that town and the  society with in it falling apart .This is a vision of the city that in someways came about after Robbe-Grillet had written the book . A series of rapes and gang violence scenes follow in this book as we drift through this world  follow in this book . The book has a feel that is disjointed at times .But it is beautifully written and that is what keeps you reading the visceral nature of the words

Whatever the case she then sees a uniformed policeman (It is a fake uniform and a mask that the man is wearing , but she can hardly be aware of the fact ) who . regulation pistol aimed at her belly ,advances towards her , ordering her to keep still and not to move .

This maybe is a theme people not knowing who people are really , he has a similar theme in his film last year at Marienbad

I found it hard to descibe this one as it hasn’t much plot but is more a series of events slice of a city descending into chaos , very much a book of its time the sex and violence could be recalled in the same ways as it happens in Anthony Burgess Clockwork Orange and the way gangs and underground city of New York is depicted is like that of Burgess the book were written 8 years apart . But for me the book style wise remind me much more of William Burroughs , Robbe Grillet doesn’t shift to such a far fetch take on reality that Burroughs did but more a take on a city falling apart at the seams and the way it spirals into volence .This one of those books that open your eyes to what can happen , but also with a bit of toungue in cheek in time , rather like Kubrick in his take on clockwork orange the world at times seems a bit OTT and the violence maybe to much .I loved this so much I was pleased to buy another by him on my recent trip to York .Also love this old cover .

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jonathan
    Sep 25, 2015 @ 00:31:06

    I’m often intrigued enough to try these experimental novels but I’ve never actually read anything by AR-G; Burroughs yes, but AR-G, no. I find they’re often a bit hit or miss. Have you read anything else by the author?


  2. 1streading
    Sep 25, 2015 @ 20:08:01

    I read a lot of Robbe-Grillet years ago, though not this one. I did post a review of -The Erasers a couple of years ago and intended to re-read more – I really should do that!


  3. Trackback: September on winstonsdad | Winstonsdad's Blog
  4. Trackback: Conducting bodies by Claude Simon | Winstonsdad's Blog

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September 2015


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