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Death Sentence

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3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  622 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
This long awaited reprint of a book about which John Hollander wrote: 'A masterful version of one of the most remarkable novels in any language since World War II,' is the story of the narrator's relations with two women, one terminally ill, the other found motionless by him in a darkened room after a bomb explosion has separated them. 'Through more than 40 years, the Fren ...more
Paperback, 81 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Station Hill Press @ Barrytown (first published 1948)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mariel
Jan 25, 2015 Mariel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: prematurely atomic
Recommended to Mariel by: the coldness of a hand
What makes it happen that every time my grave opens, now, I rouse a thought there that is strong enough to bring me back to life? The very derisive laughter of my death.


His "living" proof of events will die before he does. Plaster casts of four hand puppets futures in artificial life support. J. first, a dying life and an undying living. She must be closest to death when they feel she is going to live and precipiced to life when it isn't over for the others already. I didn't wonder that after at
...more
Aya
May 06, 2013 Aya rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fiction
A very, very interesting read!
Easy to read and very short so I recommend you to try it!

This book begins very intriguing, with the writer saying he is going to tell about events (in 1938) that were such, that he never could write about them earlier on. That everything he has ever written before was an attempt to write about these events, but that words had been cunning and deceiving. And now he wanted to make an end to it and was going to tell you all bluntly, freely and openly. I was captured ri
...more
Pooya Kiani
بلانشو تکرار می کند ولی ملال آور نمی شود. کیفیت ترجمه برای این نوع متن پایین بود و ارتباط با مولف را مختل می کرد.
Jim
Okay, so something was going on in this book with strange people doing strange things in strange rooms in strange hotels in the city of Paris as it falls under German attack in the early days of WW2, etc. and so on...

At least that's what I think is going on. Blanchot releases a torrent of words carry you through a series of events and thoughts and musings and self-reflections and detours and sidebars and words on top of words. In the end, you're where you started, but it's hard to say where you'
...more
Nate D
Jun 03, 2011 Nate D rated it it was ok
When I was reading Maurice Blanchot's Aminadab, I'd heard that that was his last "novel", and sure enough, this is an unravelable essay-memoir-story, meandering through apparent memories and introspection, though difficult to judge as actual truth or falsehood. Honestly, the whole here eludes me somewhat but many individual sequences and reflections on mortality and happenstance glisten on their own. Though it's seeming even more diffuse now that I've been away for a month of road-tripping since ...more
Desclian
Oct 14, 2008 Desclian rated it it was ok
It's surprising to find an author who writes so well yet cannot construct a simple story. This book suffers from the common ailments of contemporary literature : its meaning is hidden behind a jumble of random stories told in a stream-of-consciousness manner in a non-existent narrative. What ever happened to good stories? Why can't contemporary ideas be put into forms that are at least pleasing to read? When it's a chore to get through a book because there is so little content, I think it's time ...more
Haman
Feb 08, 2012 Haman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay
خودم را تنها در اتاقی حبس کرده ام. درون و بیرون خانه هیچ کس نیست. اما این تنهایی, خود سخن گفتن آغاز کرده , و من هم باید از این تنهایی که سخن می گوید, سخن بگویم, نه به قصد تمسخر, بلکه بدین دلیل که در ورای این تنهایی, تنهایی بزرگ تری مترصد فرصت نشسته است و در ورای این یکی, باز یکی بزرگ تر از آن, و هر یک کلام را در بر می گیرد تا خفه و خاموشش کند, ولی به جای این کار, کلام را در نامتناهی منعکس می کند و نا متناهی انعکاس کلام می شود.

Joshua
Jun 11, 2007 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with brains
Shelves: digested
one of my favorites - i reread sections of it all the time. i like books i can digest in little chunks. is that weird?
Nadisha
Dec 22, 2015 Nadisha rated it liked it
"That is what makes it so bitter: it seems to have the cruelty of something that gnaws at you, that catches hold of you and entices you, and it actually does catch hold of you, but that is also its secret, and one who has enough sympathy to abandon himself to this coldness finds in it the kindness, the tenderness, and the freedom of a real life."

I read this once and then once again because I felt lost in Blanchot's thoughts and believed my reaction to the first reading was due to a lapse in con
...more
Patrick Robitaille

**

The original French title of this novel, L'arrêt de mort, can bear two meanings: it is first a "death sentence", but it is also a "stay of execution". This ambiguity is apparently at the heart of this novel, with its two distinct parts and the constant complaints from the narrator about the relative impossibility of finding the words to describe what happens (happened). The first part covers the agony of J., suffering from an incurable disease, experiencing some sort of second wind, only to be

...more
Travelling Sunny
Found a copy of this List book online HERE.

It starts out with the narrator basically confessing that he's trying to write about something that he's had bottled up inside of him forever. And, through the whole book, there's an odd, mysterious aspect that makes you THINK he's going to tell you the secret. But, then he just goes off on some other tangent in some other timeline with some other woman...

I felt stiffed. No story? No plot? No ending? WTF???
ZaRi
من از وقایعی حرف میزنم که به نظر خصوصی میرسند و از وقایع عمومیتر غافلم. این وقایع بسیار مهم بودهاند و همهروزه ذهن مرا به خود مشغول میکردهاند. اما امروزه این وقایع تباه شدهاند. قصه هایشان مرده است و زندگی و لحظههایی که به اقتضای آنها متعلق به من بودهاند نیز مردهاند. آن چه گویاست، دقیقهی اکنون است و دقیقهای دیگر که از پی آن میآید. سایهی دنیای دیروز هنوز برای کسانی که به آن پناه میبرند، جاذبه دارد. اما آن نیز محو خواهد شد و جهانِ آینده همچون بهمنی بر سر خاطرات گذشته فرود میآید. ...more
Tankred
Sep 07, 2015 Tankred rated it it was ok
blæh
Jocelyn
Mar 27, 2009 Jocelyn rated it really liked it
Apparently you can put the unspeakable into words...
lisa_emily
May 13, 2008 lisa_emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: passers
Sometimes solitude does not cure.
Melissa
I'm trying to gather my thoughts about what I just read and I can't. I'm so confused. I don't even know what the author was trying to convey. Everything was extremely convoluted and at times so vague I had trouble grasping what was happening. I was so disappointed because the first half was actually rather intriguing.
mariam yeghiazaryan
May 01, 2015 mariam yeghiazaryan rated it liked it
Մինչ ընթերցելը գրքի նախապատմությունն ու անձնական փորձառությունս ավելի հետաքրքրական էին, քան բուն գիրքը: Արևմտահայերենով կարդում էի ինձ բոլորովին անծանոթ ֆրանսիացի գրողի, ում, ենթագիտակցաբար, խորհուրդ էր տվել մի թուրք տղա, ում հետ մոտակա հանդիպման ժամանակ հաստատ չեմ ասի, որ կարդացել եմ/սա կանխավ էի որոշել` անկախ ակնկալիքներից ու նախապայմաններից/: Գրականությունը նաև մարդկանց հասկանալու, ճանաչելու միջոց է, ու սկզբում Բլանշոն հենց էդպիսի միջոց էր` տարածության և ժամանկի մեջ անծանոթ մարդուն մոտենալու, ...more
RJ
Jan 24, 2012 RJ rated it really liked it
I don't know anything about Blanchot, and I still need to read some of his critical writing and more of his fiction. This is the first thing of his I read, in other words. He is a contemporary of and/or major influence on many of the authors I love, though.

This book in particular was really fascinating: the narrator is essentially a man who keeps going on and on about his need to explain everything and achieve catharsis by writing out some awful events, but we never really find out exactly what
...more
Catherine
May 01, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
In 1979 I was teaching in Fredonia, NY, and as I was checking out of the public library I saw a black and silver hardback book on display at the checkout counter. Something in the cover was compelling enough that I picked the book up and then there were the opening words: "These things happened to me in 1938. I feel the greatest uneasiness in speaking of them..." and so on "... until now, words have been frailer and more cunning than I would have liked..." -- I was hooked. I checked the little b ...more
Book Wormy
Jun 27, 2014 Book Wormy rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1001-read, bw-tbr

235) Death Sentence Maurice Blanchot
★★

I would love to say I read and understood this book however that would be a lie, while I most definetely read it most of the content went over my head and I could see no reason for the book being written.

In summary our un-named narrator tells us the "truth" about events in his life. Firstly we have the death of the mysterious J a woman who is terminally ill but seems to live forever and then we have a section about the narrators relationship with different w
...more
Mansor Pooyan
کتاب دارای مرکزیست که تو را به سوی ِخود می کشد. این مرکز ثابت نیست، با اینهمه تو را آواره می کند. کسی که کتاب را می نویسد، آن را از سر ِ اشتیاق و از سر ِبی خبری می نویسد. احساس ِاینکه کتاب را لمس کرده ای می تواند تنها خیال ِباطل باشد
نیروی ِهنر است که شب را میگشاید. از آن جا که هنر نیرومند است، شب به تو خوش آمد می گوید؛ خلوتی پذیرا می شود و هنر سرازیر میشود. برای تو هنر می تواند نهایتی پنهان و به شدّت تیره باشد، گویی به سویش کشیده میشوی. لحظهای که گوهرشب به آن شب ِدیگر میرسد
روشنایی باز میگردد
...more
Michael
Certainly deserves a 2nd or 3rd reading, given the richness of detail and the narrative techinque of evasion (much like Woolf's fiction and Ford's The Good Soldier). Recalls Dostoyevsky's underground man and anticipates the Levinasian ethical encounter with the other. At times, the narrator is lucid and prescient; at other times, his narrative wanders off (in a good way) into the philosophical questions and problems that can only be raised during a time of tumult and chaos.
Madhuri
Jun 20, 2016 Madhuri rated it liked it
Shelves: french, nlb
There were many parts of this book which were obscure and hard to grasp, particularly in the second half. There was some sort of other-worldly connection going on which I couldn't completely understand.
The parts I did understand though, were very perceptive, and on occasion brilliant. I felt the first half did a great job illustrating the mental make up of a person who knows they have limited time to live.
ehk2
Nov 15, 2014 ehk2 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, literature-1
I did not quite understand and like it. Was it a meditation on illness at first (I had read much better thoughts on it before); and then did it turn into a confusion/unreliability of memory (like A. Resnais' movie -Last Year at Marienbad) -similarities/interchangeability of persons or experiences?
I don't know. I don't have the slightest care for a single thing or word in it. Why should I, the reader, care while the narrator himself tells us that all was just trivial things for him?!
toni
May 18, 2012 toni rated it it was ok
Shelves: sur, béret
"I saw her passing in front of me, walking back and forth in a place that was very near and infinitely separated from me, as if it were behind a window. I was stuck by an insane idea. no doubt I could have talked to her, but I did not want to and maybe I actually was not able to. she remained in my presence with the freedom of a thought; she was in this world, but I was encountering her again in this world only because she was my thought." p.60
Mehdi Marashi
Feb 26, 2007 Mehdi Marashi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[http://www.goodreads.com]
link to book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
link to author: J.K. Rowling
bold text: ...
italic text: ...
Vogisland
Jul 28, 2011 Vogisland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I was a little baffled by the first part, but the second part is rich and shed some light on it. The most *interactive* book I've read in a while. The kind of book that changes shape with a second or third reading. I had to basically read everything twice to digest it, much like Sollers' "The Park", which seems to be influenced by Blanchot.
Brian K.
Jul 23, 2010 Brian K. rated it it was amazing
Death, the insinuation of death, the unknowing of death- That's the sense that this deeply reclusive and seminal French author brings in Death Sentence. There are the hints of ghosts in faces, and cold fires in the eyes of strangers who become lovers, who remain strangers. Absurd, surreal, timeless.
Eve Kay
Apr 20, 2015 Eve Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I didn't really get into this like I should have, so I take the blame as a reader. I should have given this my undevout attention. I do think this is one that I will get back to again years from now and see it through a different perspective and like it. So the two stars is just for now, because of me, and I'm gonna give this another chance in the future!
Iris
Nov 17, 2008 Iris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Iris by: Minneapolis public library French-language collection
A grim nouveau-roman on death, the Text, and the bonds between cold living French people. Blanchot: good but honestly my hopes are higher for Lydia Davis's translation. I bet that when she picked this up, she hit it out of the park.
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تهيه كتاب 1 9 Jul 23, 2012 05:15AM  
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Maurice Blanchot (September 27, 1907 – February 20, 2003) was a French pre-war leader of the Young Right, philosopher, literary theorist and writer of fiction. Blanchot was a distinctly modern writer who broke down generic boundaries, particularly between literature and philosophy. He began his career on the political right, but the experience of fascism altered his thinking to the point that he s ...more
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“But this is the rule, and there is no way to free oneself of it: as soon as the thought has arisen, it must be followed to the very end.” 10 likes
“I went in; I closed the door. I sat down on the bed. Blackest space extended before me. I was not in this blackness, but at the edge of it, and I confess that it is terrifying. It is terrifying because there is something in it which scorns man and which man cannot endure without losing himself. But he must lose himself; and whoever resists will founder, and whoever goes forward will become this very blackness, this cold and dead and scornful thing in the very heart of which lives the infinite. This blackness stayed next to me, probably because of my fear: this fear was not the fear people know about, it did not break me, it did not pay any attention to me, but wandered around the room the way human things do. A great deal of patience is required if thought, when it has been driven down into the depths of the horrible, is to rise little by little and recognize us and look at us. But I still dreaded that look. A look is very different from what one might think, it has neither light nor expression nor force nor movement, it is silent, but from the heart of the strangeness its silence crosses worlds and the person who hears that silence is changed.” 2 likes
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