Read Portrait of a Man Unknown by Nathalie Sarraute Maria Jolas Online


Considered one of the major French writers of our century, Nathalie Sarraute is the author of several novels, plays, and essays, as well as of Childhood, her autobiography. A pioneer of the nouveau roman (or new novel), a literary movement that sought to free the novel from the confines of plot, characterization, and time, she was recently honored by the presentation of heConsidered one of the major French writers of our century, Nathalie Sarraute is the author of several novels, plays, and essays, as well as of Childhood, her autobiography. A pioneer of the nouveau roman (or new novel), a literary movement that sought to free the novel from the confines of plot, characterization, and time, she was recently honored by the presentation of her complete works in the prestigious Pleiade series (other authors in the series include Honore de Balzac, Ernest Hemingway, and Franz Kafka).George Braziller is delighted to have been publishing all of Sarraute's work in America since 1958....

Title : Portrait of a Man Unknown
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780807612521
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 223 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Portrait of a Man Unknown Reviews

  • Mariel
    2019-05-07 17:19

    How delightful and peaceful it would be to see them become part of the cheerful circle of familiar faces.But for this to happen, I realize perfectly, I should have to bring myself to accept certain risks, to launch out a bit, to begin with, if only on a single point, no matter which one, it's of no importance. As, for instance, to give them at least a name to identify with. That would already be a first step towards isolating them, towards rounding them off a little and giving them a certain consistency. That would serve to establish them somewhat. But I just can't do it. There's no use pretending. I know it would be just so much pain for nothing.... It wouldn't take people long to find out what kind of merchandise I was transporting under this flag. My own. The only kind I have to offer.How do they know? How does he know they detect the difference under his material. What he is made of. It must look like skin, parts ticking and tocking in their own time. When ugliness takes over you can't unhear the tick tick tock, reminding you. I wish I could ask him. I'd hold up my own I know there's gotta be something off differences beside him. I begun reading Portrait of a Man Unknown when I was feeling like I had a kick me sign looming over my forehead. I dramatically flung myself into my car during work lunch break and wished to bring myself up to a good cry. They know there's something different about him. What is this? They are not the same them with him as they are without each other, these other people. He hides under windows and at the bottom of stair wells to scurry away with their crumbs of knowing without their knowing. I felt less alone reading about that than I had in a pretty long time. But then I started worrying away with my own crumbs and want to know how he knows. Portrait of a Man Unknown doesn't have the chill of recognition that I really wanted (that's hard to get anyway). Have you ever felt sick of yourself? It would feel as if you were starting to get sick or getting over one. There's a dull ache in your throat. The irritation in a stuffed up nose. That's the worst. At first you think someone else is annoying you and then you feel it's you. Of course there's a headache too. I'm used to the painful self awareness by now. I should be used to it, anyway. If you put me in a class room type of situation everyone else would group off together. The odd time someone paired up with me they'd look around to hop ship at the nearest opportunity (and would). I know he knows this too and yet I don't quite believe him. He has friends in the book. He has ideas of his influence on everyone he meets. He'd be a walking remote control with a mute button on naturalness, if you believe him. So that wasn't what got me. Thank the asteroid that hits the heart and opens up a hole in the ground to swallow me hole there was something else. The paint has something else behind it. It is made up of what makes it move. (I had this of this book in my head a month ago and ever since when I read it. I was so looking forward to reviewing it. To get the dreamy bits of living the book back. Now I can't remember anyone's names. I also can't stand myself, particularly when writing, and there must be a mute button behind me.)There's a painting it is called portrait of a man unknown. It hangs in a museum somewhere and it was given a title. Others probably look at it but I won't assume what they thought of it (I hope there was someone else who liked it, though). This painting, the man that's what I wanted. I don't know how he knows what he knows about the father and daughter he desires to find out what the behind the times mean. Their secrets, what they won't say what everyone won't say. Have you seen Isabel Coixet's film Things I Never Told You? Lili Taylor's character speaks in this intimate voice on a phone to Andrew McCarthy's character. The kind of voice that's inside your head instead of a phone from someplace else and you've never laid eyes on them before. I can't remember who worked for the suicide hotline and who was the caller. I think he was the latter. Anyway, I've remembered from time to time over the years what she said about how people who had families were lucky. Not everyone does. It was the intimate voices and talking like this I also thought was lucky. Not everyone has that. The daughter doesn't know that not everyone has that. If the man who would press his face to their glass and will himself to share empathy with the put upon father saw a parasitic hand drawing for more and more comfort in his cold one, well, I only felt sad that she didn't turn somewhere else. He watches her flattened back running. He's Wile E Coyote and she's the Road Runner. He's the cat with plans and he's going to go hungry for dinner all the same. She's a living breathing person and he's the one that's the big button.I've got this greatest fear. I think he would appreciate it because he would want to solve the mystery he's never going to be able to solve like did anyone ever love anyone anyway in War and Peace. The you gotta have faith kind of problems and what happens if you never can. I think he'd be okay with my calling it the I don't ever want to be a sister in a Thomas Bernhard novel fear. The daughter grasped me with freezing hands in her not knowing that her father doesn't love her. I guess it didn't really matter if his soul bent to the street urchin glass and imagined on papa's behalf a girl who doesn't belong, hated her. If they were not real I would have felt something in the great sequence of the father losing himself with his friends, ludicrous in need and off the wall to put himself together again. If he wasn't a real person, if there is life after the cold hands. It was curious. I felt so depressed when he's watching them, thinking he has clues, leeching father's skin with daughter's teeth he knows are there. I wished I could be there. I would look for some feeling between the people who have it all and the ones who don't have anything.I felt myself being drawn irresistibly onto a slippery incline, I knew that I ought to stop, but I was seized with a sort of foolish daring, perhaps, too, the need I have to defy her, that sort of giddiness that impels certain guilty persons, aware that they haven't a chance, to make a mad attempt to forestall their adversaries and challenge them... "or let's say... for instance... you've never seen it, probably,.... it's not very well known.... a portrait... in a Dutch museum.... it isn't even signed... the portrait of an Unknown Man... Man with Doublet is my name for it... well, there's something in that portrait... a sort of anguish... a sort of appeal...I...I prefer it to anything else...there's something uplifting..."I wish I had something like that. I wish I could feel free and connected as he did to the painting. I've felt that way before, soaring in the streets. I think it must have been the feeling to think I had seen something and known someone in some small way. Recently there was one but it depressed the heck out of me. A decrepit old had forced his person on a heavy young woman. He had to have thought she was lucky for the attention. There was no room for her discomfort in his gaze or the die on the spot glare of his wife. But it didn't make me feel like I was gathering crumbs in stairwells or even there at all. I feel like when he tells the daughter about his painting and her look, however he knows it (I want to think he's wrong), is an uncrossable distance. Some people are lucky and have people. Not everyone does. I felt at home somewhere between the chance that she would have looked different. In the Unknown Man with another name he gives him. Sarraute has some bang on descriptions, too (they could be their own language to speak underneath the lines of literature comparisons. The kinds that might make my mother ask "You know those aren't real people, right?" The other dialogue would be metaphors of universalities. The kinds you don't think other people have and everyone does). The conversation that neither party can end. It is likened to continuing to eat sunflower seeds. You can't stop and they make you feel sick. I liked this one a lot: Just as people who have little confidence in their own impressions, or are uncertain of what they know, keep looking in their guidebook to see what to think when they're sight-seeing in a foreign city, I too, in his presence, kept casting about for help, for points of reference, as my eye lighted, all at sea, now on his nose with its widespread nostrils: a sign-I know it doesn't matter (how do I know that?) what it looks like on the outside. How does anyone know that you don't fit. You don't know what they are thinking. You can't know. It is stealing from somewhere, something. He's so wrong and I couldn't stop either. It is feeling closer when the paranoia might have a really cool insect under its leaf. Unknown men and, yeah, possibilities of being an asshole. How does he really know that her father doesn't love her. Why does he want him not to? I want to hide on my own planet in those sister in a Thomas Bernhard novel times. If you hear people ranting about someone else who ruined their life. The kind of person who talks about the ex boyfriend they haven't seen in twelve years as if he ruined today. I want to disappear those times and I'm not the boyfriend. Uh huhs and dead faces. If he could feel so free why does he want to feel wronged on the papa's behalf? What did the flat running girl ever do to him. Sometimes I felt like I was him, sometimes I felt like I was her. I loved the universal language that's surprise when my sympathies were looking for close connections. It wasn't the chill of recognition but it was that. A maddening one 'cause doesn't anyone care about the lonely ones?

  • Maureen
    2019-05-17 14:07

    "Some of these unfortunate creatures, perhaps vaguely conscious that something oozes from them, themselves assume an inscrutable, rigid expression, with all exits blocked, as though to keep these mysterious effluvia from escaping; or perhaps it is in a spirit of imitation, the result of suggestion --they are so easily influenced, so sensitive --that they, too, in the presence of the masks, take on that set, dead expression. Others, in spite of themselves, dance about like puppets, twitching nervously and making faces. Still others, in order to get into the good graces of the mask and restore life to its stony features, play the clown and stoop to any lengths to provoke laughter at their own expense. Others, even more contemptibly --these are generally the older, more vicious ones --as a result of a sort of irresistible attraction, sidle up like a dog rubbing against its master's leg, beg for a pat or an affectionate gesture that will calm their fears, and lie wriggling on their backs, all four feet in the air: they chatter away, open wide their hearts, grow confidential and, in a voice that lacks assurance, blushingly tell their most intimate secrets to the motionless mask.But the mask won't give in. It simply won't let itself be taken in. On the contrary, all these contortions and flummery more often than not only serve to make it grow harder.It would be difficult to say exactly whether it is in spite of itself, and without knowing very well why, that the mask keeps growing harder like this, or whether it doesn't deliberately overact, in order to punish the person who has stooped to these degrading buffooneries in its presence, and so increase the smart of baseness; whether it is in order to discourage the opponent, by playing dead like a fox at the approach of an enemy, to defend itself against these contacts and repulsive wrigglings; or whether, on the contrary, it is in the unconscious desire to foment these goings-on in order to make the game more exciting, and thus prolong and relish for a greater length of time a subtle kind of secret, sensual pleasure. I have no idea. Nobody has any idea. Nobody has ever given it a thought. They've all got other fish to fry, other, more worthwhile, more legitimate things to think about."

  • Jimmy
    2019-05-10 20:19

    I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It's French, it's experimental, and it was recommended to me by smart folks. But I just didn't feel it. I thought her prose was enjoyable enough, but a bit tedious. The format of her similes are always the same, i.e. something simple compared to something long drawn out. And I wanted some variation in her technique. The whole "mystery" aspect was interesting for a little bit until I thought I figured it out, which was about 10 pages in. I am still not sure if I am right or not, since no answers are ever revealed (which I don't mind, I actually prefer it this way), but the nagging sense that I was right, and that the book was really about (view spoiler)[the writing of a book, i.e. about a man (the narrator) who has actually imagined the lives of these other people, who couldn't help himself but imagine them, and who depended on these people of his creation (whether or not they really existed, or whether they existed as separate forms) screamed 'metafiction' to me in a way that didn't increase my pleasure. (hide spoiler)]. I know I spent the whole review complaining about this book, but I actually found it generally enjoyable to read. I just didn't like it as much as I wanted to like it, or thought I would like it.

  • Ben Loory
    2019-05-10 14:58

    "Now and then, when I have been seated next to them at the theatre, without looking at them, while they listened motionless and as though turned to stone beside me, I have sensed the trail left across the entire audience in the wake of the images emanating from the stage or from the screen, images that settle on them like steel filings on a magnetic surface; I longed to rise, to intervene and check these images in their flight, to turn them aside; but they flowed with an irresistible force, straight from the screen onto the women; they clung to them; and I felt the women close beside me, in the darkness of the hall, motionless, silent and voracious, spinning these images into an object destined for their own use."this book definitely qualifies for a "holy shit!"

  • Scott Gates
    2019-05-20 14:08

    A novel that seeks to investigate the horrors of cliché. Its vagueness level hovers around 90% (and this isn’t the compelling kind of vagueness that some writers indulge in). The text is composed of descriptions of the narrator walking around town spying on a couple people supplemented by inflated and usually strident interesting thoughts. There seems to be an effort to cast these thoughts in language as unfocused and imprecise as possible, in order to make the thoughts appear more original than they are.Although it certainly helps, tediousness does not necessarily equal avant-garde-ness.Sartre’s intro is good for a laugh.

  • Marie
    2019-04-25 16:07

    Hopefully the last book on my Nathalie Sarraute kick, after I finish Les Fruits d'Or. Again, Nathalie Sarraute twists the usual form of a novel into something completely different-- a young man is obsessed with two seemingly normal people, an old miser and his daughter. The narrator zooms in with almost microscopic intensity, seeing past all of the appearances and politeness, to the "small tentacles" that reach out from us to others and, with the most minute movements, cause actions and reactions. I really interesting read with some beautiful commentary on what it means to write a novel, be a person, or be a character-- reminds me of John Green's Paper Towns advice: Imagine people complexly.

  • Caitlin
    2019-05-04 19:17

    i'm in love with nathalie sarraute.

  • Phillip
    2019-05-05 16:00

    finished nathalie sarraute's PORTRAIT OF A MAN UNKNOWN ... didn't love it. it dwells in the realm of existentialist fiction, perhaps pioneered by dostoevsky, but brought into prominence by samuel beckett, with his incredible trilogy: MOLLOY, MALONE DIES, THE UNNAMEABLE - one of the great works of the 20th century, imo. so no, it doesn't hold up to that, mainly you miss beckett's razor sharp humor. in POAMU, the narrator is a fellow who identifies as an amateur sleuth who follows a father and daughter and describes the process - and over the course of the story, we learn a lot more about the detective than the ones being observed.some really nice ideas and observations, but it just didn't pull me in and engage me emotionally. one thing i bump up against is why can't so-called serious writers develop a sense of humor? i mean, the good ones do - DFW, dostoevsky, beckett, woolf, joyce, bolano, carson, pynchon ... but there is an army of writers who seem to refuse it.

  • Katie
    2019-05-06 16:18

    Thanks Kimo

  • Héctor López
    2019-05-11 16:09

    La obsolescencia es canija. Sarraute deja de ser una escritora para mi. Aburrida

  • Benjamin Thomas Sutpen
    2019-04-29 19:00