Author: Jean-Phillipe Toussaint
Pages: 125
Publisher: Les Editions de Minuit 1988
Original language: French, translated by Mathew B. Smith
Rating: 2.5 stars

This is a very short read; it is only about 120 pages. Camera lacks any significant plot line and though it is occasionally humorous or absurd, it isn’t engaging. First person point of view often allows the reader to quickly become intimate with the protagonist (and perhaps even feel as if he or she is the protagonist); however, this was not the case in Camera.

The narrator is completely engrossed in himself and even though there is a hint of a love story, nothing ever really comes of it because he is too involved in his own head. The metaphysical nature of the book and the protagonist’s musings are interesting but will easily lose you if you fail to pay close attention. That is super irritating! I read this book mostly on the bus and I’m fairly easily distracted there, so I found myself having to reread a lot to keep up with what was going on.

Here’s an example of his writing:

She misunderstood my method, in my opinion, not realizing that my approach, rather obscure to those unfamiliar, was based on the idea that in my struggle with reality, I could exhaust any opponent with whom I was grappling, like one can wear out an olive, for example, before successfully stabbing it with a fork, and that my propensity not to hasten matters, far from having a negative effect, in fact prepared for me a fertile ground where, when things seemed ripe, I could make my move with ease.

That is all ONE sentence! See what I mean? Admittedly, this is an intriguing comparison (but really how many times do you stab an olive before you pop it in your mouth? I’m the kinda girl who may go in for a second stabbing, but more likely will just pick it up with my fingers).

Let’s just say it’s short but it’s not easy and it reminds me of things I had to read for lit classes in college–a lot of the entertainment gets lost in the art.

About Natalie Ramm

I read a lot, y'all.
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2 Responses to Camera

  1. Pingback: Heated Rush | Paperspines

  2. Pingback: How to Paint a Dead Man | Paperspines

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