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The Planetarium

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  223 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A young writer has his heart set on his aunt's large apartment. With this seemingly simple conceit, the characters of The Planetarium are set in orbit and a galaxy of argument, resentment, and bitterness erupts. Telling the story from various points of view, Sarraute focuses below the surface, on the emotional lives of the characters in a way that surpasses even Virginia W ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published December 23rd 2014 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published May 25th 1959)
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Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
This Dalkey Archive reprint is a brutal evisceration of bourgeois materialism, brilliantly written. The novel was originally published in 1959. It's essential reading, especially for anyone interested in the great works of twentieth-century France.

Parisians Alain and Gisele are sick of living in their tiny, cramped flat. They can't have anyone in. It's just too tiresome! Alain, a writer, can't work when Gisele is at home. So without the hindrance of anything resembling conscience, they attempt b
Nate D
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Will I be more disdainful if your review differs, or if you lack the imagination to disagree?
Recommended to Nate D by: I'm worried you're judging my reviews even though you've been completely polite
The terrible devastation of what we imagine other might be thinking of us . . . the yawning gaps left by obsessive introspection in the midst of our conversations . . . given all the perils of our own minds, it's rather astonishing that we're able to interact with others . . . to live in the world with other people . . . at all, really.

A bit of Woolf's multi-viewpoint voice, untethered and drifting, a bit of the new novel that Sarraute helped found, a bit of interwar-Kavan's cynicism at mercuria
Lee Foust
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is remarkable (and, for me, 5-star worthy) for the sheer originality and effectiveness of its narrative technique. Serraute here expands on the impressionistic (for lack of a better word) method of her earlier Tropisms (an old favorite of mine)--brief phrases echoing the interior lives of ordinary people in quite ordinary situations recounted as if nothing before or after these tiny moments, these brief evocations of personality, has ever or will ever matter as much. It's a bit like s ...more
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le roman est très impressionnant sur le plan technique. Mais passé l'étonnement du début et le plaisir de comprendre comment la narration fonctionne, cette histoire de famille et d'ameublement est un poil ennuyeuse. Je soupçonne(ahaha) l'écriture de Sarraute d'être plus adaptée à la nouvelle qu'au roman.

Sur la définition de soi que l'on cherche dans l'acquisition d'objets, je trouve "Les choses" de Perec plus fort.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
I got about 50 pages into this swirling mass of snits regarding the narrator's aunt and her issues with the interior decoration of her apartment. It's been a long time since I've done this, but I cannot read this mass of nothingness without intense ennui. So this one gets hurled at the wall.
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is astonishing, how from a text about an elderly lady grieved by an inappropriate door-knob, with more suspension points than letters, after some 30 pages a novel of such structural beauty and precision emerges, authentic and realistic down to every word, a sad workshop in thought-hearing, well worth rereading most of it twice, thrice, spasmodically, paragraph-wise, sentence-wise, to understand whose head we have been placed in in this particular passage.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
i have to admit i was disappointed not to like this book as much as i enjoyed portrait of man unknown, but i could tell i would not, right away, as i became deeply involved in the first work, and finished in a day, but i stopped after the first battle over the easy chairs and had difficulty picking up again when i came back to it later.

i guess when it comes down to it, it's the characters sarraute chooses to focus in this book that annoy me. i'm one of these people who have to be able to empathi
Sep 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fench-o-philes
The first half of this one held promise but the second half left me cold. These characters were more interesting the less we knew about them, and the conclusion to me seemed to mishandle the reckoning that needed to take place. It felt as though the author lost interest or was goaded into turning a successful short story/novella into a longer piece perhaps? The later portion smacks of having been subjected to the worst sort of tinkering as offered from peer reviews in a writing class. Maybe some ...more
Mar 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ناتالی ساروت خالق آثاری چون: چهره يك بيگانه، مارترو، عصر بدگماني، افلاک نما، بين زندگي و مرگ و نمايشنامه هاي: سكوت، دروغ، ايسما، به خاطر يك بله يا يك نه ناتالی ساروت در 18 ژوئیه 1900 در روسیه به دنیا آمد و دو سال بعد، پس از جدایی پدر و مادرش مقیم فرانسه شد. در سال 1925 با ریموند ساروت در دانشکده آشنا شد که به ادعای خودش بهترین و اولین خوانندهی همیشگی آثارش بوده، کسی که مفهوم تراوشات قلمی او را چنان که بایست درمییافت. ادامه:
Jan 31, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was prepared for boring, so it met all my expectations.
I stopped reading around page 95 and browsed the last chapter.
It tells the story of a young couple who want the old aunt's apartment and manages to get it at the end.
Still, I can understand what Sarraute's purpose was : to give the reader a complete picture of what the characters tell, think, do and feel while they are interacting with others. It's an experimental and interesting attempt, and I found it lively and enjoyable at the begin
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
if i could give half stars, i'd go with three and a half. her style, even in translation, is really interesting, hard to get used to, a little difficult to navigate. to me this novel seemed, for a long time, to be simply another take on the reality/appearance binary. but then i decided that wasn't it at all, and it's much more about how we influence others unwittingly and how much people are affected by not just what we say and do, but also by what people think we might say and do, or what we mi ...more
Megan Luke
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it
If three stars means "I liked it" - three stars.

Beautiful prose, makes intense use of free indirect speech to build character sketches that melt and react to one another. POV vacillates between characters. She aims to expose characters' "tropisms" - “'interior movements that precede and prepare our words and actions, at the limits of our consciousness.'” (

I don't know if the intent is to expose people as merely reactive neurotic amoebas that sometimes fuc
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
نه خیلی قوی . بیشتر توی مواجهه با اشیا و افراد دیالوگ برقرار می شد و از دنیای واقعی یکم دور بود
F Craig
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is very good—clever, smart, reminiscent of late Virginia Woolf. Recommended.
Persephone Abbott
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
L’écriture de Nathalie Sarraute est une grande découverte pour moi, et j’ai adoré.
Rodrigo Alfonso
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rodrigo by: a. robbe-grillet, s. beckett
i will read it again
Robert Wechsler
Jun 16, 2013 marked it as tasted
Shelves: french-lit
This novel didn’t work for me, partly, I think, because of the translation. Another overly (for me) hermetic, internal novel, so much of the time and place.
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Lechiot Volant
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Jan 13, 2015
Linda Eriksson
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Тошка Иванова
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Aug 25, 2012
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Kristian Hermander
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Nathalie Sarraute (July 18, 1900 in Ivanovo, Russia – October 19, 1999 in Paris, France) was a lawyer and a French writer of Russian Jewish origin.

Sarraute was born Natalia/Natacha Tcherniak in Ivanovo (then known as Ivanovo-Voznesensk), 300 km north-east of Moscow in 1900 (although she frequently referred to the year of her birth as 1902, a date still cited in select reference works), and, follow
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