The Erasers
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The Erasers

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  674 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Alain Robbe-Grillet is internationally hailed as the chief spokesman for the noveau roman and one of the great novelists of the twentieth century. The Erasers, his first novel, reads like a detective story but is primarily concerned with weaving and then probing a complete mixture of fact and fantasy. The narrative spans the twenty-four-hour period following a series of ei...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 21st 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1953)
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Mala
The Erasers by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Shelf: Thriller/Mystery,Postmodern lit,Brain Pain Group read.
Recommended for: Not everyone.

Nine murders in nine days,one by one,every evening at seven-thirty. Sounds like a typical plot for a lurid, pulpy thriller– instead, what you get is a mindbender of postmodern writing that turns conventional tropes of detective fiction upside down & becomes,at times,too smart for its own good.

Part thrilling,part annoying,the book explores a murder that (view spoiler)...more
Richard
The only time I was ever smart was reading this book in grad school. I cracked it, and the rest of my class thought I was nuts. Then, good ol' Dicky Dillard said, "Even Harold Bloom didn't get it at first."

I've since gone back to being dumb.
Glenn Russell
The Erasers is one of the most convoluted, complex, knotty novels a reader could possibly encounter, a novel that can be approached from multiple perspectives and on multiple levels, everything from an intricate detective mystery to a meditation on the circularity of time to the phenomenology of perception to the story of Oedipus, to name several. For the purpose of this review, I will focus on one aspect of The Erasers I have not seen from either literary critics or reviewers – the prevalence o...more
Bruce
This novel was published in 1964. The narration begins in the present tense, immediately drawing the reader into the novel. During the early part of the work, the story seems to be about a murder attempt gone awry. There is a cimatographic element here, too, since often the same scene repeats itself from another character’s point of view, as in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Differing interpretations of the same events, some attributable to deliberate misinformation, seem the order of the day.

The tone...more
CasualDebris
For my full review, please visit Casual Debris.

Perhaps the most notable member of the group of experimental authors practicing the tenets of the Nouveau Roman (New Novel), Alain Robbe-Grillet's first novel is a fascinating, fun and frustrating murder mystery. It deals with a detective by the name of Wallas who is sent to an unnamed town to investigate the murder of Economics Professor Daniel Dupont. The murder is believed to be linked to a series of eight other murders occurring across the count...more
Nate D
Robbe-Grillet in noir-est noir form for his first published novel. Even in a story of detection and murder, of course, his prose is highly subjective and filled with ambiguous repetition of detail. These tendencies were mostly early in their arc of development at this point, though, meaning the clearest plotting of anything I've read from him, but also less of that rarefied aesthetic atmosphere that continually permeated his work thereafter. It reads like Robbe-Grillet, but doesn't entirely feel...more
Katharine
I began reading this book three years ago, read about 75% of it, then I had to put it aside when I started grad school. I recently picked it up again and started from the beginning once more. I'm pretty sure that this was the best way to read this book. It is a time and thought consuming read and you will benefit by re-reading parts or all of it. Read, repeat, read, repeat.

This book is a bumbling comedic novel layered in a dark, mysterious tone. As I came to the end of the book I laughed at lou...more
Tosh
Allain Robbe-Grillet is one of those writers one either gets or not gets. Care or not care. I care, but do i get? I don't know, but I do enjoy his writings and it brings me back to a time when you can get experimental fiction published by a big publishing house at your local bookstore. Things are a tad different these days...

So what we have here is a thriller of sorts. The subjectivity erased out of the narration. An interesting read, and everyone should read Robbe-Grillet at least once.
Nathan
Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who think Watson & Holmes were the same person.
Shelves: fiction
I had to read this book in graduate school. It made me feel like a failure as a human being, but I could tell how brilliant it was. Kind of like if Einstein started a conversation with you while you were drunk and tried to explain this new theory he'd been working on, and he did it in German, and oh yeah, you're drunk. Gibberish, and maybe he's not really Einstein, but a serial killer. But you can tell he's either brilliant or mad or both. That's The Erasers. Keyser Soze, drunk, talking astrophy...more
Iniville
This book played like a movie in my head while I was reading it.
Schuyler
I would have loved this novel when I was 18, what with its classical (Sophocles) and modern (Kafka, Beckett, Joyce, and Borges) touchstones and its allusions to philosophical and theoretical paradigms. But I'm not 18, and, while I can appreciate what Robbe-Grillet is after with this tale of detection, I can't fully enjoy it. When I was 18, intellectual puzzles, like this one, were enough for me. I would have named "Last Year at Marienbad" one of my favorite movies that year. I liked the feeling...more
Ken
In an odd twist of fate, Alain Robbe-Grillet died the same week that I finally finished reading his debut novel, The Erasers. I don’t ascribe any importance to that, it was just odd.

The Erasers reminds me of Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath or The Stooges The Stooges or Metallica's Kill 'Em All or Public Enemy's Yo! Bum Rush the Show. There is something great here, it isn't perfected yet, but there is hint of something amazing to come. This grand experiment will yield a Paranoid or a Fun House or...more
Alika Yarnell
This book reminded me a little of a David Lynch movie—specifically, Blue Velvet. Not so much in terms of theme or plot (although both involve detectives), but style. Robbe-Grillet describes seemingly mundane objects and scenes with intense details, much in the way that Lynch zooms in with extreme close-ups. The effect is peculiar and eerie and leaves much for the observer to conclude for him/herself.

Overall, I think I like Djinn a bit better than The Erasers, but the latter is definitely worth t...more
dead letter office
i hate crap like this. the author constructs a detective novel-like plot and then proceeds to weave in all kind of confusion and inconsistency in order to make it into serious, postmodern literature. the critics evidently bought all the shit he was selling, because this guy is supposed to be a big deal. if paul auster was french (which he probably wishes he was in the instants of insecurity when he momentarily doubts that new york is at the precise center of the literary universe) and had been...more
Hamish
This is (I think) Robbe-Grillet's first novel, so his writing style isn't in full effect yet. My initial feeling was that his style only works when taken to his characteristic extreme, and therefore this was actually a bit disappointing. But as I got further, I realized that even if it's a bit lacking in that area, it still has pretty much everything else you would want in a Robbe-Grillet novel. As always, he only shows and never tells, and he leaves it up to you to connect the dots. Unfortunate...more
nazanin kaynejad
It was amazing and it wasn't like any other books I've ever read!!!!!!!!!!
Ormond College Library
I finished The Erasers a while ago and I’m still trying to piece it together. The novel begins with bursts of dialogue and glimpses of characters, then settles down to establish the details of the crime. A bungled murder attempt leaves the victim pretending to be dead. But nothing is straightforward, of course: the streets of the town are curiously oblique and the distinction between hypothesis and actual events is murky. This French setting is wonderfully rendered in cobblestones and grim bars,...more
Sergei_kalinin
Классика "нового романа"; по-своему очень любопытная книга, но читалась как-то тяжело, потому такая оценка :)

Специфика книги в том, что сюжет (детективный!) и персонажи в ней - далеко не самое главное :) /там и главного героя-то нет - они меняются по ходу книги/ Главное - стиль!

Что интересно: действие разворачивается вне времени и пространства... Город-лабиринт, по которому плутают герои, улицы описываются занудно и подробно, но при этом составить его карту решительно невозможно... Часы одного и...more
Marissa
The premise of the book is simple and gripping enough, but its satirical overtones take over soon enough to keep the reader from being too emotionally invested, and thus disappointed when the mystery takes on new literary territories. At turns, this book is amazingly unique (the allusions to Oedipus, for example, are very cool) and dull (one questions the use of overly cliched stock characters). Inspite of this uneveness, however, this is my favoirite of the Detective Novels I've read this summe...more
Bob
Robbe-Grillet's first, I think, and a bit more conventional than "Jalousie" and others, though his obsessive objectivism is often manifest - the exact number of times the cafe proprietor moves his cloth around the table to shine it, the exact number of inches the chair sits from the table, and so on.

Set in 1950s Belgium, the story is almost an anti-whodunit about a ring of political assassins - you are told right at the outset who commits a shooting on whom, but the endless layering of speculati...more
Dan
Superficially an anthem of misinformation, paranoia, and doubt, the true merit of Robbe-Grillet's "The Erasers" resides in its fatalistic undertones adopted from the myth of Oedipus. Every characater is equally clueless in this murder mystery where even time itself is up for debate. This ambiguitity gives creedence to the nouveau roman objectiveness for which Robbe-Grillet is famous. When so much is unclear, it makes sense for characters to obsess about the most insignificant minutia, grasping f...more
Gabriel
Robbe-Grillet would go on to much more drastically erase the subjectivity from his fiction (in the psychological/James Wood/f.i.d. sense, anyway), but this first novel contains some extensive passages "in character." As a result, it is more wholly a "novel" in the traditional generic sense of the term. And, keeping himself within these boundaries, exploring what are still the novel's unique strengths, gives Robbe-Grillet extraordinary power to effect the kind of bizarre flickers that are his pro...more
Sean Masterson
I am a literary Francophile, I like French food too, and this book is why. I even listen to bad 60s French pop music now. Its awful.

Robbe-Grillet voiced a disdain for literary realism and wrote a scathing manifesto of the avant garde in his book Pour un Nouveau Roman. The Erasers is his first attempt at the Nouveau Roman. Though he would later consider it a failure, I think it is compelling rejection of literary complacency.



Laura Cowan
The novel as a labyrinth. Absolutely love it. Though when I went around as an undergrad declaring my undying love for Robbe-Grillet, I was embarrassingly unaware of the repeat appearances of underage prostitutes, sado-masochism and other not quite so intellectually focused themes in, what, ALL his other novels? lol. Still, a wonderful book for those of us who like cerebral mysteries and experimental lit.
Sonia
Ces trois petites étoiles me gênent un peu. En effet, d'un côté, je sais qu'il s'agit d'un texte important, qui mériterait sans doute mieux; de l'autre, si je suis honnête,j'avouerai que je n'y ai rien compris.
Il y est question de gommes (que le personnage achète avec frénésie) et d'Oedipe. Je ne peux pas en dire plus.
Adam
Alain Robbe-Grillet's [i:]The Erasers[/i:] is the rare novel written very much with academia and literary theory in mind that still rings true. It's not [i:]Jealousy[/i:], but it's still excellent and evocative and unique. It's too much to get into right now, but I might write more extensively about it later.
KeTURah
repetition, repetition, repetition.

i finally read this book - after being guilt ridden for years for lying about reading it during my Modern Novel class in college.

I actually liked it. the end was surprising and ironic. i wish i had read it during class so that i could have discussed it with other people.
L.
Miało mi to wywrócić mózg na drugą stronę i wzbudzić co najmniej piętnaście porażająco skomplikowanych ciągów myślowych. Doceniam kunszt, pasję i zaangażowanie, ale ciągnęły mi się te "Gumy" jak flaki z olejem. Być może tak wlaśnie autor chciał. Ale ja naprawdę nie znoszę flaków.
Jacek Ambroziak
This book is one of the earliest A R-G books and, like The Voyeur, easier to read than say "Into the Labyrinth".
Highly recommended for someone curious about Robbe-Grillet to be the introduction to this author's works.
I am getting ready to re-read it.
Ryan
I tried and tried to enjoy this book, and while I appreciate the attempt to write something completely different, many have done better. There are great parts of this book, parts of brilliance. But as a whole, this is just a bore.
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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. Alain 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...more
More about Alain Robbe-Grillet...
Jealousy The Voyeur Jealousy & In the Labyrinth For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction In The Labyrinth

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