“In the maze” of Rob-Griye in summary

The place of action is a small town on the eve of the arrival of enemy troops in it. According to the author’s words, the events described in the novel are strictly real, that is, they do not pretend to any allegorical significance, however, reality is represented in it not that which is familiar to the reader from personal experience, but is fictitious.

The narrative begins with the fact that a certain soldier, haggard and stiff with cold, stands in the winter cold under the continuously falling snow near the lantern and someone is waiting. In his hands he holds a tin box wrapped in brown paper, similar to a shoe box, in which there are some things that he must pass on to someone. He does not remember the name of the street where the meeting is to take place, nor time; does not know what he is from the military unit, or whose overcoat is on it. From time to time he passes to another street, exactly the same, powdered with snow, drowned in the haze, stands near the same

flashlight, as if through a labyrinth, wanders through the intersection of deserted and straight alleys, not knowing why or what he is here, nor how long he already here has spent, nor how much still will sustain. The decorations of the novel are strictly delineated: it is a cafe, where the soldier comes to drink a glass of wine, a room where a black-haired woman and her disabled husband give him a break, and a former military warehouse turned into a shelter for the wounded and sick single soldiers. These scenery are imperceptibly flowing one into another, and each time something changes in them, something new is added. The events of the novel are depicted in the form of static scenes, which have neither the past nor the future, in the form of framed pictures.

Intending to go to one place, the soldier often gets completely out of the way he went, or in his mind some scenery is suddenly replaced by others. From time to time a ten-year-old boy shows up at the soldier’s eyes, who is approaching him, stops, and then he enters into conversation with him, then quickly escapes or simply disappears.

In one of

the episodes the boy leads a soldier in a cafe. The view of the reader is a static picture of the visitors and staff of the cafe, frozen sometimes in the most amazing poses. Then everything suddenly suddenly comes to life, the soldier waits for the waitress to approach him, and asks where the street is located, whose name he does not remember.

Or the soldier, following the boy, is in a dark corridor with many doors and staircases, in which suddenly there is light, then disappears, and the corridor again plunges into the twilight. One of the doors opens, and out of it comes a woman in a black dress, with black hair and light eyes. She invites the soldier to come in, sit down for a table covered with oilcloth in a red and white cage and gives him a glass of wine and a slice of bread. Then she and her disabled husband discuss for a long time what kind of street the soldier needs to get to, and come to the conclusion that it’s not justified that this street is Buvar Street. Equip the boy to carry a soldier. The boy leads him to some house, which is a haven for the sick and wounded military. The soldier is admitted inside, although he has no documents with him. He is in a large hall with sealed windows. The room is filled with beds on which people with eyes wide open are lying motionless. He falls asleep directly in a wet greatcoat on one of the beds, after putting his box under the pillow so that he is not stolen. At night, he makes an attempt to find a wash basin in a network of corridors to drink water, but he does not have enough energy to reach. At it delirium. He dreams of his military past and what happened to him during the day, but in a modified version. The next morning the paramedic determines that the soldier has a strong fever. He is given medication, another, a dry overcoat, but without stripes. The soldier changes clothes, gets a moment when no one sees him, and leaves the shelter. At the bottom, he meets yesterday’s handicapped man, who sarcastically notices to the soldier that today he is in too much of a hurry, and is curious what lies in his box. The soldier goes out into the street, where he meets the boy again, gives him a glass ball, which he finds in his new coat, and goes on to a cafe where he drinks a glass of wine among the still and silent visitors surrounding him. Then on the street he meets a man in a fur coat, who is confusedly telling why he is here and who is looking for, hoping that this person is exactly who he needs. However, this is not the case.

He meets the boy again. The roar of a motorcycle is heard. Soldier and child have time to hide. Passing by motorcyclists belong to the enemy army. They do not notice hiding in the doorway and passing by. The boy rushes to run home. The soldier is behind him, silently, for fear of attracting the attention of motorcyclists. They come back and shoot a running soldier with gunshots. He runs to a door, opens it and hides inside the building. The motorcyclists searching for him knock on the door, but they can not open it from outside and leave. The soldier loses consciousness.

He comes to himself in the same room where the woman treated him to wine. She tells that she transferred him to her with a man in a fur coat, who turned out to be a doctor and made a soldier an anesthetic injection. The soldier feels extreme weakness. At the request of a woman who was so sensitive to him and now takes a lively part, he says that the box belongs to his comrade who died in the hospital and he had to hand it over to his father. In it are his things and letters to the bride. However, he either confused the meeting place, or was late, but he did not meet with his father.

The soldier is dying. The woman reflects on what she should do with the box with the letters.

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“In the maze” of Rob-Griye in summary