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Topology of a Phantom City
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Topology of a Phantom City

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Hardcover, 142 pages
Published January 28th 1977 by Random House (NY) (first published 1976)
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Nate D
Mar 26, 2014 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: deviant architects
Alain Robbe-Grillet writes eroticized fever dreams built of exacting architectural detail, noir gestures, and a heavy atmosphere of ambiguity and displacement. It is this atmosphere, unique among my reading, that makes him terribly strange and compelling to me, even when his narratives become fragmented into non-existence, as here.

The first two sections (of five) are each highly memorable (and self-consistent) in their own right, though. The first traces unexpected paths, as much temporal as sp
A second reading (in full), of what has been a favorite book for me for years, the partial source of my website's name (being, of course Topology of the Impossible, a sort of portmanteau between this book and Bataille's The Impossible).

I was glad, naturally, to discover that this is indeed a very prime example of Robbe-Grillet's genius, and reading it found me very excited again. Also, I find it sincerely less "problematic" at the level of "misogyny" or something (for want of a better term), th

Reading Robbe-Grillet novels induces a fugue state in my reading mind. I only ever have a dim understanding of what is transpiring in the text and yet I read on transfixed, certain there will be no resolution and that at the end I will know little more than when I began. R-G’s constant reconfiguring of events, of settings, of objects, his replacing, adding, omitting, contradicting, it seems like it should be maddening but instead yields a languorous effect.

Full review here.
I think I'm generally pretty good at figuring out what Robbe-Grillet is going for, but this went a little over my head. Still, I respect him enough as a writer to assume that's a failing on my part, not his. I definitely need to re-read this at some point.
Jim Elkins
This was recommended as one of his best. Instead it showed me how he is at his worst. (There is a new edition of "Voyeur," which I may re-read.) This is a stultifying pastiche and tortured ekphrasis of Paul Delvaux. Shows just how frozen, how petrified, his imagination is when it's not focused on an actual scene.
don't read this on the subway!
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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 wa
More about Alain Robbe-Grillet...
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