This 1987 novel by Nobel Prize-winner Claude Simon is a sardonic look at glasnost Russia, where recent reforms and improvements carry all the conviction of rouge on a corpse. The narrator is one of fifteen international guests who have been invited on a goodwill tour of the new Soviet Union. Whisked from one staged event to another, from Moscow to Central Asia, enduring hoThis 1987 novel by Nobel Prize-winner Claude Simon is a sardonic look at glasnost Russia, where recent reforms and improvements carry all the conviction of rouge on a corpse. The narrator is one of fifteen international guests who have been invited on a goodwill tour of the new Soviet Union. Whisked from one staged event to another, from Moscow to Central Asia, enduring hours of rigid Soviet hospitality, the guests react with varying degrees of stupefaction and disgust to a society whose recent renovations ill-disguise a bloody and repressive past. The Invitation is a reminder that although the Cold War may be over, the past cannot and should not be forgotten; the Soviets have a new game to play--diplomacy rather than military force--but Simon voices skepticism in our current era of pro-Soviet sentiment....
|Number of Pages||:||80 Pages|
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The Invitation Reviews
The Invitation by Claude SimonThis was a random buy in the English book shop in Bucharest a while ago and I have to say I found this a tough read. It may be only 77 pages long including the Afterword but somehow felt like I had read a 400 page book it dragged so much.So why did I find this Nobel prize winning author so tiresome well mainly because the book reads like he had been set an exercise by an literature professor who laid out the rules that you have to write a story in which you do not name any of the characters and you do everything you can not to name any of the locations and then if possible you mustn’t say what happens at the locations either.The book for me was an exercise in frustration notionally set in the Soviet Union just after Glasnost and Perestroika have broken out the book sort of follows a group of 15 foreign dignitaries on a summit tour to who knows where. What do they see or talk about well we never really find out.To add to the frustration often sentences go on for two or three pages at a time like he is a beat novelist only without the drink or drugs or weird sex. Had the book furnished us with a bit more detail it might have been a really good look at a very interesting time historically that it was written a couple of years after I had visited the Soviet Union I know something of how the place felt and yet this book fails to conjure up much of anything except frustration at what’s missing from the story.So only read this if you like to read books that go nowhere in particular and are a fan of the French New Novel movement that Claude is a part of.