Review by Choice Review
For two decades, Motte (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) has been a tireless interpreter of contemporary writing. Here, he has chosen ten authors who represent the recent revitalization of the French novel. The writers range from the well known (Le Clezio), through the less studied (Echenoz and Toussaint), to the rarely analyzed (Laurrent and Salvayre). They include three women (Le, NDiaye, and Salvayre) and provide diversity in other important ways. All are novelists who reflect on the function of the novel today, its limits, its viability. All explore new strategies and demand new strategies of the reader. They do so playfully--the ludic, a key concept of the book, recalls Motte's study of earlier writers of various nationalities, Playtexts: Ludics in Contemporary Literature (CH, Nov'95). With its attention to techniques of reading, judicious use of theory and criticism, and good contextualization, the book is an initiation to literary analysis and to current writing in France. It will also serve those unable to read French; though six of the ten texts discussed have not been translated, Motte translates excerpts here. Nothing comparable exists. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. A. M. Rea emerita, Occidental College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
A new generation of French novelists is ushering in a revival of narrative prose, which can be compared in its vigor only to the advent of the New Novel of the 1950s. To be sure, these novelists are clearly avant-garde, and their works are still in some ways experimental and not always easy to read. Motte (French and comparative literature, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) presents and analyzes a representative sampling of these works, dealing exclusively with novels published since 1990 by such writers as J.M.G. Le Cl?ezio, ?ric Chevillard, Marie N'Diaye, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint. From the outset, Motte points out that he is not interested in mainstream fiction but in the avant-garde because, he believes, that is where the novel as literary form "changes shape and moves along in new directions." He then shows how French novels began changing shape in the 1980s, sometimes displaying a mixture of experimentalism and "narrativity." The ten texts he chooses to analyze here focus on the major tendencies of this genre, thus making the book a useful introductory guide. No full originals are reproduced, and not all the novels presented are available in English translations. The result is an accessible overview to an otherwise difficult literary form, especially to those without a background in French literature. For comprehensive modern literature collections in both public and academic libraries.-Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.