cover image Ghosts in the Mirror

Ghosts in the Mirror

Alain Robbe-Grillet. Grove/Atlantic, $16.95 (174pp) ISBN 978-0-8021-1036-7

Rejecting the usual approach in autobiographical writing of presenting a life as ``a quasi-historical narrative . . . arranged in a causal sequence,'' Robbe-Grillet ( Last Year at Marienbad ) instead views this first volume of memoirs as a process of ``continual questioning'' by a ``resolute, ill-equipped, imprudent explorer.'' In the volume at hand, the process concerns the literary, psychological and personal. Among Robbe-Grillet's literary preoccupations are the influence of Camus's The Stranger on himself and a generation of writers, and his own role as an ``objective novelist''; among the psychological, his sexual preference for young girls; among the personal, his wife and their marriage of four decades (``Catherine is still my little girl''). And, like all who lived through it, Robbe-Grillet was marked forever by WW II: after the Liberation, his ``personal relations with order underwent a profound change'' as he learned of ``the whole dark horror that was the hidden face of National Socialism.'' Alternately analytical, emotional, distant and arch, the book is true to Robbe-Grillet's view of reality: ``discontinuous . . . juxtaposed . . . and . . . difficult to grasp.'' (Feb.)