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Making Love
     

Making Love

by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Linda Coverdale (Translator)
 

An immediate bestseller in France, Making Love is an original and daring retelling of a classic theme: the end of an affair. As much an exploration of setting and place as it is of the affair that comes apart in them, Making Love follows a couple’s final days together in Japan. Toussaint writes with an economy and restraint that evoke the

Overview

An immediate bestseller in France, Making Love is an original and daring retelling of a classic theme: the end of an affair. As much an exploration of setting and place as it is of the affair that comes apart in them, Making Love follows a couple’s final days together in Japan. Toussaint writes with an economy and restraint that evoke the distinct imagery of film while allowing a startling proximity to the feelings of his characters. The result is vertiginous, standing traditional images on their head and transposing the conflict and confusion of lost intimacy onto the labyrinthine ultramodernism of Tokyo and Kyoto. Brilliantly written and strikingly original, this is a stunning work of new fiction from one of Europe’s most promising authors.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The final chapter of an unhappy love affair is an old story, and Belgian novelist Toussaint (Monsieur) gives it a Sartrian flavor by mixing in large helpings of existential alienation. The woman in this couple is Marie, a Parisian fashion designer who is by turns creative, sexy, beguiling, exhausting, cruel, selfish, and neurotic. The man is our story's nameless narrator, who is both attracted to and repelled by the intensely emotional demands of his high-maintenance lover. We know things will go badly when, in the story's opening lines, Marie's lover assures her he will not throw into her eyes the hydrochloric acid he happens to carry around in his pocket. And so they dance a never-ending compulsive tango of attraction, separation, and reconciliation. Their story is set in contemporary Tokyo, which Toussaint successfully evokes as a noirish, alienating city, lonely and tomblike in its high-rise modernity-a perfect projection of the narrator's inner turmoil. Toussaint is less successful at sustaining enough (but not too much) dramatic tension to propel the reader to the story's inevitable conclusion. By the time we get there, we're exhausted. Recommended where there is a demand for contemporary European literature.-Janet Evans, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From the author of Monsieur (1991), etc., a moody, often claustrophobic, and viscerally intense evocation of the end of an affair that's begun in France and ends in Japan. The urban setting-Tokyo-of this brief but concentrated chronicle of the death of love enriches what could be a conventional story. Toussaint's descriptions, in particular-of sterile contemporary hotels ("no noise anywhere, just the purring of the air-conditioning"), the bleak spaces of an art museum, and impersonal trains-suggest that the world the lovers are visiting has reached, like their affair, a similar dead end. The anonymous narrator begins his account as he and Marie, a dress designer and artist invited to Tokyo to show her clothes and her art, settle into their hotel room after the long flight from Paris. As he describes how their affair began, he also offhandedly remarks that he has a bottle of hydrochloric acid with him, which he hints he might throw at Marie. This acid is almost a third protagonist in the story as the narrator carries it with him or ponders using it. The two make love but are interrupted by a phone call, and he leaves the room and wanders round the sleeping hotel. He then goes outs into the snowy streets, where he finds Marie, dressed in one of her designs, also up and about. A minor earthquake, another ominous indicator, occurs as they walk in the dawn cityscape. Later, feeling ill, he abandons Marie at the museum where she's supervising the installation, and heads to Kyoto. Feverish and disoriented, he stays for a few days with a French friend. Recovered, acid bottle in his pocket, he heads back to Tokyo on a strangely empty bullet train. After talking to Marie on the phone, his feelingsabout her still ambivalent, he impulsively visits the art museum after hours. There, haunted by memories of Marie, the acid still in his coat pocket, he comes to a decision. Edgy prose that elegantly distills a disturbing take on love.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565848535
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
02/02/2004
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.70(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Philippe Toussaint was born in 1957 in Brussels. He has written five previous novels, including Monsieur and The Bathroom.

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