Golden Droplet

Michel Tournier, Author, Barbara Wright, Translator Doubleday Books $16.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-385-23759-8
One of France's most important contemporary novelists, Tournier (The Fetishist) ponders a favorite themetwinning and cloningin this story of 15-year-old Idris, an Algerian shepherd lured to the menial workforce of Paris. When a charming blonde tourist snaps his picture in the desert, Idris is changed by this ""ordeal of photography.'' The erotic power of the camera eye snatches away his image, as he thinks, and he must quest for the unknown woman. Assailed by the European gaze, both human and filmic, Idris feels himself sliding further into the state of despised victim and esthetic object. A stunning sequence in a mannequin factory temporarily entombs him in molten plastic, so his image can be endlessly multiplied as a shop-window dummy. The golden droplet Idris wears, a talisman once owned by a Saharan dancer, remains a mystical sign of his identity until it too is stolen, only to reappear in a luxury jeweler's display. Along with his omniscient deliberations on cultural difference and the self, on Arab portraiture and calligraphy, Tournier enchants with the dazzling visual quality of his storytelling. (October 16)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
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