tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Aminadab

Aminadab by Maurice Blanchot
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I gave a not particularly enthusiastic review to Blanchot's "The Madness of the Day" wch was, at that point, the only thing I'd read by him. Then my respected colleague Franz Kamin sd I shd give him another chance so when I found this bk I picked it up. Others put in a good word for him too. I've read many 19th & 20th century French writers so I definitely have a taste for such things but Blanchot's a writer I never discovered when I was most in the thick of such interests.

Whilst reading it, though, I found myself wondering: Do I even ENJOY reading anymore? Perhaps if I'd read it 30 yrs ago I wd've found it fascinating. As it was, I mostly just found it tedious - much like the only bk I've read by Michel Butor. The back-cover promo for "Aminadab" compares it to Kafka's "enclosed and allegorical spaces" &, yes, it's very claustrophobic - like Kafka, like Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast Trilogy" - wch I loved as a young teenager.

But this is the type of claustrophobia that reminds me of friends making what I consider to be 'bad' decisions - I just felt like saying: "Don't do that!" - like talking to a character in a horror movie about to make a fatally stupid blunder. In other words, as the protaganist goes thru his progressive entanglement, I found myself caring only insofar as I was annoyed.

Also on the back cover blurb it says: "Blanchot's novel functions as an allegory referring, above all, to the wandering and striving movement of writing itself" & keeping that assertion in mind made the bk slightly more interesting to me. Strangely, but as a nice change from the norm, the 'romantic' aspect of it is downplayed to the point of barely a mention in the translator's intro. However, it seems to me that the bk is as much about human relationships as anything more formal - w/ the human relationships not being very appealing to me.

All in all, "Aminadab" is fairly original & unusual - 2 qualities I always search out - but I found myself not caring very much. Blanchot has helped me realize that I want something very different out of writing than what wd've been interesting 30 yrs ago (just based on its difference). Now? It's not so clear what I want - stimulation, of course, but maybe I'm too jaded to receive that easily.
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Reading Progress

September 7, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
September 30, 2008 – Finished Reading
October 1, 2008 – Shelved as: literature

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by lisa_emily (new)

lisa_emily I'ld be very curious to see hwat youhave to say about htis novel- I never even heard of this and I thought I had a oretty good grasp on what Blanchot's work.


tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE If I understand correctly, this is the last of his bks to be translated into English - or, perhaps, the last of his novels to be translated.


message 3: by lisa_emily (new)

lisa_emily sorry for all my typos up there- grrr.

I will be looking for this book, I enjoyed his critical writings and I thought Death Sentence was strange and hypnotizing. I'll be looking forward to your review too.


message 4: by lisa_emily (new)

lisa_emily hmm- thanks for the review- I guess I was hoping for some stellar immersion in language or something, but your hoensty in approaching it is something I appreciate. I definitely now hesitate before jumping to find that book- as big of a fan I am of Blanchot. Admittedly, I mostly have read his essays on literature- so reading his fiction may have another effect on me.


tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE Actually, my review's probably too 'harsh'. I just let my mood be transparent enuf so that one can understand where I'm currently coming from. There might be quite alot that I cd read right now that wd get similar short shrift.


message 6: by lisa_emily (new)

lisa_emily I don't think it was too harsh- it was what you felt while & after reading the book. The beauty of this site it that people can give their impressions of a book which others can read. Anyway, I enjoy reading the reviews when people give a personal take on a book- I can always read reviews on bookreview sites if I wanted some huge analysis.

I'll probably read this novel someday when I feel the need to fill a Blanchot hole.


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