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Grove Press, 2003 - Fiction - 178 pages
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A lain Robbe-Grillet's novels -- groundbreaking works combining suspense fiction, high literature, and philosophical exploration -- have made him one of the most influential writers of the last half century. Repetition, the first novel he has written in twenty years, is a triumphant accomplishment, an extraordinary tale of violence, espionage, and tricks of perception.

Set in the bombed-out Berlin of 1949 and rendered with an atmosphere reminiscent of Orson Welles's The Third Man, Repetition follows Henri Robin, a special agent of the French secret service who arrives in the ruined city, to which he feels linked by a vague but recurrent memory. The real purpose of his mission has not been revealed to him, and nothing is what it seems. There is a shooting, a kidnapping, druggings, encounters with pimps and teenage whores, police interrogations, even torture. As Robin slowly becomes aware that he was in Berlin before -- as a child, with his mother, perhaps looking for his father -- bits and pieces of the Oedipus story resonate through the book's elegant labyrinth. Repetition may be the most revealing and triumphant novel the French master has yet written.

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Repetition: a novel

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In Fifties France, Robbe-Grillet helped originate the nouveau roman, or "new novel," which challenged traditional concepts of narration. He returns after a 20-year silence with a sort of literary ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

Writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet was born in Brest, France in 1922. Robbe-Grillet's first novel, The Erasers (1953) is considered to be one of the first books of the nouveau roman, or new novel, in which external reality is more important than character or plot. His other works included The Voyeur (1955), Jealousy (1957) and Djinn (1981). He worked in the film industry as a writer, actor and director. He died at the age of 85 on February 18, 2008.

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 13, 1929. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government in 1952-1953. He briefly worked as a lexicographer, but soon turned his attention to poetry and poetic criticism. His works include Trappings: New Poems; Like Most Revelations: New Poems; Selected Poems; No Traveler; Findings; Alone with America; and Quantities. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1969 for Untitled Subjects. He is also a translator and published more than 150 translations from the French. He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1976 for his translation of E. M. Cioran's A Short History of Decay and the American Book Award for his 1983 translation of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. In 1982, he was named a Chevalier of L'Ordre National du Mérite by the government of France. He teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

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