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Winter's Journal [Paperback]

Emmanuel Bove , Nathalie Favre-Gilly , Keith Botsford


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Book Description

April 8 1998
Paris in the 1930s: Louis Grandeville has a beautiful wife, a nice home, a loyal servant, and a large circle of well-placed friends. His financial situation doesn't require him to work. Yet Louis is obsessed by the nagging reality that he never has and never will amount to anything. He believes his life is devoid of any affection or goal, filled instead with a thousand trifles intended to relieve its monotony, and populated with human beings he seeks out to avoid being alone but for whom he cares little.

Every few days for one winter, Louis writes down the details of his unhappy marriage. Although his wife, Madeleine, is the focal point of his journal, his painstakingly rendered analyses of her behavior tell us more about him than her, and about the harm two people can do to one another. Unsparing and insightful, A Winter's Journal remains one of the most devastating novels ever written on the self-destructive impulse present in all marriages.

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From Publishers Weekly

All but forgotten today, the cheerless French novels of Bove (nee Bobovnikoff, 1898-1945) were much admired among certain intellectual Modernists in Europe. In this 1931 novel, the "Bovian narrator" is immediately recognizable: a heartless master of self-pity, in this case a Parisian aristocrat, Louis Grandeville, with no apparent profession save supercilious scrutiny of the people who revolve in his tight orbit, especially and most unfortunately his young wife, Madeleine. Over several months, from October to February, Grandeville records the dreary details of his emotionally moribund marriage. While capable of moments of true self-perception ("What terrifies me is that I'm constantly unhappy, and yet always act like a happy man"), Grandeville more often projects his pathological neediness on his wife, effectively choking any feeling the hounded woman has for him ("I would interrupt myself to address her sharply, 'Isn't that right, you don't love me?'"). This novel can certainly be read as historical evidence of the hazards of women's dependence on men. More likely, as Keith Botsford argues in his thorough defense of Bove, the writer's resurrected oeuvre will be read for its singular influence on the work of such writers as Samuel Beckett and Peter Handke.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Originally published in French in 1931, this fictional journal explores the relationship of a man and his wife. They are financially comfortable (he doesn't have to work) and on good terms with family and friends, yet he is extremely unhappy, believing that he never will amount to anything. Every few days he describes in minute detail the behavior of his wife, which he believes he is successfully analyzing. His obsessive jealousy and insecurity are evident, and the reader knows that matters will only deteriorate. The translation is good, and Keith Botsford's well-researched afterword is successful at placing important French novelist Bove in historic and critical context. This will be of interest to academic libraries.?Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Silver Spring, MD
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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