White

Year: 
2003

This novel of Marie Darrieussecq is a scientific book.The action takes place in the future in Antarctica. This is a book both interesting and complicated. The biggest issue is the isolation of the world and individual. We witness the isolation of protagonists from their country, their language in the location, the south pole. Love also plays a very important role. The love story is developed around the two main characters, Peter and Edmee. It is a relationship that must remain secret because of their work and family obligations. All the characters are complex and well developed. Darrieussecq uses a lot of descriptions and details of the South Pole as well as the characters. Other important themes in this novel are the emptiness, the destruction and the imprisonment. The white color is constant in all  descriptions of the environment. White is also a symbol of isolation. Darrieussecq uses her creative imagination to write this novel. It forces readers to question the world around them and themselves. This novel expresses ideas so strong that readers must resolve to reach to their own conclusions.

Kerry Sweeney

 

Critics on White, 2003
Translated from the French by Kate Gorton

“…in a world reduced to almost nothing, [White] is a subtle exploration of auditory sensations, as well as the visual and tactile.”

Isabelle Martin, Le Temps, August 30, 2003

“A reconstruction of the idea of ‘genres’—a romance novel squatting in one of adventure, as if the meeting of two beings is the ultimate adventure and the ultimate foreign body to conquer today. The writing is monochrome: not bland, but “white.” As expansive as the monochromatic infinity of Earth, as packed as liquids frozen by the cold, as immaterial as mirages formed by ice crystals in the atmosphere, it is reverence of the color white. Each sound is as silent as it is explosive, as if to reproduce its abrupt and incongruous appearance in this inhuman void: the hollow of the sentence. 

(…)

“Alchemy born from poetry, from mirages, from the miraculous, in a world more and more defined by the technical. And Marie Darrieussecq is the alchemist, changing an ultra-technical expedition into a crazy tale right before our eyes”

Nelly Kaprièlian, Les Inrockuptibles, September 2, 2003

“A novel more about sensations than narration, White doesn’t have to submit to the fluctuations and standards of classic prose, yet neither does it seek to avoid them. Its author does not reason against—something or someone—but with. (…) White confirms that everything is white, but between that white, lays the essential.

Pascal Gavilet, La Tribune de Genève, August 25, 2003

While we wait to find out if Pete and Edmée decide to take the logical path shown by the story, the ghosts give the reader a light, effective narration in which one finds winks, subtleties, and even total farce. As the author says about a children book found in the library of the ship that is taking the protagonists to the South Pole, "the recit is based on the progressive revelation of secrets."  Except that in this novel, the “little finger of Mother that knows it all” is replaced by ghosts.”

Alain Nicholas, L'Huamnité, September 4, 2003

White (…): a sort of poem—soft and funny, mathematical and fantastical—in which perceptions of the world—material, mathematical, as well as sentimental—are put into words, impressions, visions and equations.”

Nathalie Crom, La Croix, September 4, 2003

“[One image chases another. Impression parasites on thought. A sensation unloads a reflection.] Darrieussecq invents a language model for recounting a life lived from the inside, for a brain which impresses and allures, for thoughts that play leap-frog. As she has already proven in A Brief Stay Among the Living, the novelist is unparalleled in creating the deceitful disorder of nightmares, of treating reality like a waking dream. Her explorative style finds ideal and virgin terrain in the great white of Antarctica.” Olivia de Lamberterie, Elle, September 22, 20