During a dinner conversation between a father and his old friend about a recently acquired pre-Columbian statue, the father hears his children upstairs giggling, in this novel by the author of Martereau. Devastated, the father is certain that they are mocking his old-fashioned viewpoint, and the energy he wastes by collecting lifeless objects, thereby undermining what has been of greatest importance in his life. A master at depicting the vacillations and urges of mental states, Nathalie Sarraute captures in this novel the eternal conflict between generations and between the past and the present.
"This book appeals very strongly to the ear. The effect is less that of speech than of song: recitatives, duets, concerted numbers—a marvelous chamber opera of family hate."—The New Yorker