Jean-Philippe Toussaint



by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
Dalkey Archive, Reprint 2012
104 pages / $12.95  Buy from Dalkey Archive or Amazon







Jean-Philippe Toussaint is a novelist who, in his initial success with publication, was often grouped alongside other novelists which many critics were considering the “post-nouveau roman writers,” writers who had, persumably, grown up reading the New Novel authors during their formative years while the New Novels were the pinnacle of literature in France. They were often marked by a return to a more, shall we say, straight-forward narrative, a return to character, but still displayed a marked attention to everything that the New Novel broke down.

It is, perhaps, not surprising then, that upon reading Toussaint’s short novel Reticence, I couldn’t help but think of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s seminal The Voyeur, published over 40 years before Toussaint’s novel (released in France in 1991, though just seeing English translation in 2012). While Toussaint’s novel avoids the fetishization & perversion that’s present “between the lines” of Robbe-Grillet’s novel (something that was seemingly never remarked upon by the author whom Barthes’ claimed wrote purely objectively), Toussaint’s novel also seems to be a detective novel which, similar to Robbe-Grillet’s novel, may or may not be missing the crime in its entirety, recalled only obliquely–recalled? or invented out of a reticence?


October 11th, 2012 / 12:00 pm

A Conversation with Jean-Philippe Toussaint

My friend (and yours) Jim Ruland had a chance to speak to Jean-Philippe Toussaint recently, and sent this interview. I was going to run it on Hobart, but the schedule didn’t allow for it to appear in a timely manner there. Instead, we are cross posting it here at HTML Giant and on Hobart’s lovely blog to get the interview as much attention as we can.

Jean-Philippe Toussaint is the author of nine novels. Originally, published in France, the slender books have secured the Belgian author a reputation as a stylist who favors impressions over plot, comic situations over character development. Since 2007, Dalkey Archive Press has been publishing Toussaint’s work in English, trickling out two or three novels a year to a growing audience of eager enthusiasts for the quirky little books.

The most recent novel, Self-Portrait Abroad, released earlier this month, features a Belgian author traveling to cities in Europe and Asia. A sensual train trip to Prague, a visit to a strip joint in Nara, a victory in a lawn bowling tournament in Cap Corse are described in Toussaint’s quintessential style. READ MORE >

Author Spotlight & Massive People / 47 Comments
May 5th, 2010 / 3:07 pm