PRINT September 2008


Alain Robbe-Grillet

In preparing the special focus on French novelist and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet published in our Summer issue, we approached writer Michel Houellebecq, who many would say has taken up Robbe-Grillet’s mantle as the foremost literary provocateur in France today. His response, received only after that issue went to press, follows. —Eds.

EVEN THOUGH ALAIN ROBBE-GRILLET’S BOOKS profoundly and radically bored me right from the start, I devoted hours, perhaps even days of effort trying to read them. I proceeded as one does in such situations: I skipped ahead fifty pages to see if things got better later on, I switched books, I told myself that I would just try my luck later on, at another time of day, under more favorable circumstances. But nothing eased my boredom, nothing overturned my initial conviction that it all was of no interest and had no meaning. I cannot remember ever having been

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