Over and over again, the narrator compares herself to an animal, because she feels so ashamed of her actions--that she may have even thought she liked her actions at the time, and even now in retrospect--that she compares herself to a dog as someone she loves leaves her: "It wasn't his brains I was sucking, do you realize, I could have had very handsome men, I could have loved Nadine's movies, I could have spent Christmas Eve with you. You're going to be with your family, I'm weeping like the dog I am, you don't celebrate Christmas with your dog. It's horrible being a dog." This novel was characterized not only by the graphic nature of the relationships described here (incestuous fallacio inside of a church confessional anyone??) but by the chaotic stream of consciousness Angot used to give us her story. Honestly, I both expect and respect that this stream of consciousness is probably what it REALLY sounds like in our heads when we are distressed like this--so unnerved that we feel we're really bursting out of our heads, seams popping us undone like a shoe two sizes too small. This stream of consciousness makes me want to slap her and tell her, 'Sit down and be quiet!'" For me, it wasn't that the subject matter here bothered me--I have a strong stomach for the taboo and love reads that push all of my limits. Ultimately, I was too compelled to skim through the read because of this manic narrator's voice, and for that I give the 2*, though there were definitely some shining moments to be found within these pages. **I received an advance-read copy of this book from the publisher, Archipelago Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Other kinds of penetration are possible, borders, journeys Angot begins finally at the three-quarter mark to describe the incest in meeting her father, whom she never previously knew, and then subsequently being charmed by him. Eight days in which she was afforded the chance to know him firsthand as a father, and then as a lover for a time, first with that kiss on the lips and then whatever else Angot chooses to eventually deliver on her page. Angot claims she does not care what others think of her, or her writing. And damn those she says who want a story, or plot and romance without the pain of process it takes in getting to the end. Meanwhile she licks and sucks and fucks whomever needs it. Similar to the trap she is unable to escape from. I want her dutifully soiled by her own making and then have the courage to write about it. It is Angots chosen way to redemption in her search for satisfaction on the page.
Sie, sie hat welche." Obsessionen und Wahnsinn stoßen mich nicht ab, ganz im Gegenteil - zumindest, wenn sie in pseudosicherer literarischer Distanz stattfinden, und Literatur ist immer auch Teil des Lebens selbst. Dass sie bei dieser Reise in die Abgründe der Besessenheit, in diesen Monolog, der die grenzenlose Verstörung nach dem Ende der Beziehung zu Ärztin Marie-Christine Adrey dokumentiert, den Namen ihrer Tochter Léonore des öfteren einbringt, wirkt skandalös, denn das Kind kann sich ja nicht dagegen verwahren und wird in der Schule gefragt werden: "Ist deine Mutter wirklich verrückt und eine Lesbe?" Ein Problem, dass die Autorin nicht ausblendet, und so lautet die Widmung des Buches: "Ich sollte dir dies hier nicht widmen, meine schöne, und wie du mich gebeten hast hinzuzufügen, liebe Léonore." Es ist eine Mischung aus Wut, Mut und Selbstbesessenheit, die Angot hier vorlegt, vor allem aber rückhalt- und rücksichtslose Offenheit: "Wenn ich das Wort nicht ergreife, dann werde ich zur Komplizin dessen, was passiert. Ich wüsste nicht, wie die Wahrheit sagen, aber die Literatur gesteht diese Ohnmacht der Lüge gegenüber ein." (CA zu einer Journalistin) "...das gesamte Manuskript rührt an das Problem der Verletzung des Persönlichkeitsrechts der erwähnten und beschriebenen Personen...Absehbare Prozessrisiken liegen auf der Hand...Der Mangel an Zurückhaltung und Besonnenheit in den Äußerungen bildet ein entscheidendes Element des Werks, in dem Maße, in dem es dem Leser erlaubt - soweit das möglich ist - sich dem leidenschaftlichen Wahnsinn der Autorin zu nähern." - so warnt ihre Rechtsanwältin, und dass CA diese Warnung in den Text integriert, muss auch als Lust an der Provokation verstanden werden. Schwieriger wäre die Bewertung, ob es sich um mutige Literatur oder um einen Skandalroman handelt, aber das eine schließt das andere nicht aus. Die Aggressivität und Subjektivität (um es freundlich zu formulieren) einer Jelinek findet sich hier, aber ohne Romanstruktur; ein Monolog der Molly Bloom ist INZEST nicht, dazu fehlt es an literarischer Qualität, am Gestaltungswillen.
I wanted to put down the book multiple times but I'm glad I didn't because the author finally starts describing her writing style by basically stating that she is insane.
So, you know, the same story Anais Nin did decades earlier, in a book of the same name, and for real. Either that or the tendency to use real names, which - as per one mention within the text here - has seen Angot taken to court in the past.
I've never encountered such awful writing: one incoherent sentence sentence after another and paragraphs that go on for twenty or thirty pages, maybe more.
It wasnt the subject matter that was difficult (because the incest is not dealt with in detail or graphically or even talked about that much until the final few pages of the book) its just a difficult book to read: the paragraphs are long but they dont meander, they zig and zag from one subject to another and I lost my place (and my patience) time and again. Ive no problems with stream of consciousness writing in general when they flow but when your narrators manicI use the term looselyit can wear you down especially when youve picked up the book expecting one thing and get handed something else entirely. When youre not yourself.The person talking is Christine Angot which is the books authors name and, of course, there have been authors before whove either inserted versions of themselves into their texts or given characters the same names as them; Philip Roth jumps to mind and Vonnegut both as himself and (and occasionally with) his alter ego Kilgore Trout. There are arguments for and against because, after all, everything on the page, fictional or otherwise, has come out of that authors mouth but it can be confusing and I make no bones about it, Incest confused me. The reason I picked up this book in the first place was in preparation for reading a friends memoir where incest is a major theme and I wanted something to compare it to. My friends book is based on factplaces shed been, things shed witnessedbut it would be unfair to her to call the book a factual account because it clearly comes under the heading creative nonfiction, heavy on the nonfiction. The Christine we meet in the opening pages of Incest was hard to label but my first thought was damaged goods. She writes:Im not looking to accuse him. In time her daughter will leave her mark. Okay, shes not very calm so we should probably read that last bit as as calmly as possible under the circumstances.This book will be seen as testimony about the sabotage of womens lives. To take this book as a shit piece of testimony will be an act of sabotage, but youll do it. It screws up a womans life, it screws up a writers life, but, as they say, it doesnt matter.I came to this book wanting to do more than underline what everyone accepts, that incest in todays world is inevitably damaging. Why would I read a book about an alcoholic or a drug addict? I read them because I havent been there and dont particularly want to go there but I do like to understand things. Thats why we read stuff like this so we can expand our experience of the world without having to go through all the pain and suffering and whos got time for all that anyway? Incest is the book in which I present myself as a real shit, all writers should do it at least once, after that, well see. Writing is not just one thing. This book never gets inside the fathers head. Part of the problem with the book is when Christine chooses to tell her story. She writes, Im at my limit, what with my mental structure, incestuous, I mix everything up, it has advantages, connections others dont make, but too much is too much as they say, its the limit and most puzzlingly, Having sex with a woman, youre right, its incest. We choose things we love.) If youre going to read this book then my advice would be this: Treat it as an experience. At one point Christine writes, Dogs are stupid, you can get them to suck on a plastic bone, and theyre stupid, dogs believe you. And its not as if dogs write novels or come equipped to explain canine behaviour and mentality in human terms.