Sebastien Japrisot | Critical Review by Christine Watson

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Sebastien Japrisot.
This section contains 435 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Christine Watson

Critical Review by Christine Watson

SOURCE: A review of The Passion of Women, in West Coast Review of Books, Vol. 16, No. 1, January, 1991, pp. 31-2.

In the following review of The Passion of Women, Watson focuses on how multiple narrators and a clear prose style effectively contribute to the mystery and suspense of the story.

The main character in this witty, provocative novel [The Passion of Women] is a man who appears only briefly onstage. The story of his life is told to us indirectly, by the eight women who loved and were left by this man, and by the end of the book we feel we know him as well as any of them.

Which is to say, we probably don't really know him at all.

We first see this mysterious figure through the eyes of Emma, a young woman kidnapped on her wedding night by an escaped convict named Vincent. He's described next by Belinda, a prostitute who hides and falls in love with Tony, a man on the run who tells her he was shot by a bride he'd kidnapped. Still later, he appears as Frédéric, the lover of Frou-Frou, a starlet whose acting is outclassed by her skill as a manicurist.

In these, and in his five other appearances, several things about this mystery man appear constant. He is on the run from the law; he has been convicted of a crime he claims never to have committed; and he is, first and foremost, a dreamer and a lover of women. As a boy, he fantasized that he had gone back through time, searching for a way to save Joan of Arc. As a man, he seems to live out his fantasies, running from one woman to the next and recreating himself with every one. And dogging his heels wherever he goes is General Malignaud, who knows the truth about his conviction and will stop at nothing to track him down.

This novel is a kaleidoscope, always shifting, always drawing the reader into a new view. There is love here (in a wide assortment of guises) but there is also hate, fear, amusement, passion and virtually every other sort of emotion. Just as we think we have a grip on who this man is and what is going on, Japrisot deftly changes focus again, and we realize we are no closer to understanding than we were at the beginning. With his smooth prose and his careful construction, he draws us into his story as surely as his mystery man draws these women into his life. Read The Passion of Women, and experience its seductive charms yourself.

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This section contains 435 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Christine Watson
Literature Criticism Series
Critical Review by Christine Watson from Literature Criticism Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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