By Emer O'Beirne
Spanning seven decades, Nathalie Sarraute's literary career has established her as one of the most prominent and highly respected French writers of the twentieth century. From the outset she has sought, through consistent formal innovation, to develop a mode of literary expression adequate to an endlessly mobile and mutable self stifled as much in public discourse as in traditional fictional characterization. Central to that enterprise is the dream of full and transparent communication with another, and ultimately with an ideal reader. This study is the first to explore in detail the interaction between the increasing move towards dialogue in Sarraute's prose works (Tu ne t'aimes pas is an extreme example), and the dialogue those works initiate with their readers. Intensely aware of the pitfalls of communication, both spoken and written, Sarraute's prose writings illuminate not only the dynamics of conversation, but also those of the reading process.