Friday, February 4, 2011
I just didn't get this book. It was short and quick and entertaining but I'm here, writing this review a few days after reading the book, and I find myself having a tough time remembering anything about it. I read a lot and I'm a fairly quick reader but I also tend to retain what I read. That just didn't happen here.
When the first sentence of the book is, "It was about the same time in my life, a calm life in which ordinarily nothing happened, that two events coincided, events that, taken separately, were of hardly any interest, and that, considered together, were unfortunately not connected in any way.", well, perhaps that explains some of my not getting it. I don't think anything really happened in this book.
The narrator is a man, of an age I could not determine. He's just learning to drive, which doesn't indicate much. He goes to get his permit and finds himself infiltrating the life of the "young woman" who operates the permit office. Some sort of relationship develops, although why and how isn't real clear (which is why I used the word infiltrating). The woman's father appears in the story and makes it seem as if the narrator is about the same age as the woman (which begs the question why the narrator refers to her as "young").
I guess it is supposed to be a bit of an existentialist book (given that the back cover blurb calls Toussaint , "A comic Camus for the twenty-first century", makes sense) but I'd call it self-absorption rather than existentialist. It isn't so much life that the narrator ponders but rather specifically, HIS life. And as he says, nothing happens in his life.
There were some funny points in this and it is really short. I didn't waste a ton of time on it. Maybe it's too highbrow for me but I just didn't get it and so can't recommend it.