12 May 2011

Guillaume Lecasble, Lobster, 2003

In the dining rooms of the Titanic, Lobster sees his parents getting eaten, then is about to get boiled alive himself at precisely the moment the ship hits the iceberg. Instead he experiences an erotic encounter with a refined but sexually frustrated woman just as the ship sinks, giving him a taste for life as a human without a hard shell to contain his desires, and a desperate need to find his belle Angelina again after they become separated in the lifeboats. I’m no stranger to bizarro fiction and the vaguely repellent feeling one gets from its use of extreme or uncomfortable allegory, but Lobster actually left me behind a quarter of the way through, just to let me catch up again only in the last ten pages. Lecasble’s first novel (he’s an artist and film-maker also) has a theme of unrestrained desire but Lecasble seems undecided about precisely what to do with it: if it’s a paean to the idea (as in the first half) it might just as well be a warning against it (as in the second). Not a winner then in terms of an elegantly communicated concept – and I doubt it’s the translation that’s at fault – but certainly a great success in giving you imagery you’d simply rather not have floating around inside your head.  PY


No comments: