Books: Surface Without Depth

The difficulty in establishing a literary school is that someone is always cutting class. Novelist Nathalie Sarraute, dean of women of the French school known as the New Realist, inveighs against psychological novels, yet psychologizes in her own works. Her cofounder, Novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet, is an object worshiper who would rather describe a love seat than a love scene; yet this is not consistently reflected in the novels of his disciples. They do have some common characteristics, notably a way of writing in flat tones of a world that is bleak arid...

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