Camera

In this improbable love story, Toussaint creates a character who is obsessed with himself: how he does things and all the ways he might have done them, how he thinks, why he thinks the way that he thinks, how he might do or think otherwise. What happens? He takes driving lessons, goes grocery shopping, spends endless hours with an adorable employee of the driving school he attends. And though he is aloof, though caught up in his own actions and in the movement of his own thoughts--he somehow emerges as surprisingly insightful and also very funny. In Toussaint's touching novel, we come to know this character intimately and yet know almost nothing about him. These two extremes, existing together, are at the heart of Toussaint's remarkable style.

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By MJ (Glasgow, Scotland, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · May 09, 2011
A novel in which nothing significant happens on purpose, to draw attention to the insignificant things that comprise 90% of our lives. Toussaint calls this the ‘infinitesimal novel’ and his entire canon could be read in an afternoon. That’s how infinitesimal these novels are.

There is a richness... ...more
By Jim (San Diego, CA) · ★★★★★ · April 17, 2009
One would be hard-pressed to find in a novel a character who examines the nature of his existence as scrupulously as the protagonist of Camera. Improbably, it’s a love story.

The affair commences when a man with a “propensity not to hasten matters” becomes smitten with a woman named Pascale Poloug... ...more
By Donald (Brooklyn, NY) · ★★★★★ · October 04, 2008
Not as good as The Bathroom, which is a small masterpiece, but Camera is brilliant in a sly and quiet way. ...more
By Adam (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★☆ · September 21, 2011
Central premise:
Absolute refusal of meaning is a graceful way of life.

Revelatory excerpt:
"The conditions were now perfect, it seemed to me, for thinking. A few minutes earlier, on the maritime platform, I had stopped to watch the rain fall in a bright projected beam, in the exact space delineated... ...more
By Mike (New York, NY) · ★★★☆☆ · February 28, 2009
This is one of those quintessentially French postmodern novels that is intriguing and exasperating in the same measure. Toussaint's book is an example of the novel of the infinitesimal, apparently the latest flavor in French intellectual circles. The narrative is aggressively quotidian, the tone... ...more
By Brent (Providence, RI) · ★★★☆☆ · October 16, 2009
A waiting room novel. Not to say that it's a novel that it should be read in a waiting room, although it can be and, if the wait runs a little long, it can be read in full. But to the point, it is a novel that is interested in the waiting rooms of life, where nothing much happens "on the page" bu... ...more
By Vineeth (Mississauga, ON, Canada) · ★★☆☆☆ · June 27, 2014
I fell asleep twice. Highly recommended if you want to fall asleep. We all have those days when we're like 'gahh, I wish I could fall asleep right now but I'm just sitting awake in bed'. You should buy this book and keep it on your bedside table for such occasions.

Just because it made me fall asl... ...more
By Peter (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★☆ · December 07, 2009
Much better than Toussaint's 'The Bathroom' - very French, very Camus. Sentimental-existential. ...more
By Kyle (Hudson, OH) · ★★★☆☆ · January 10, 2009
An anonymous man -- calmly riding the ups and downs of driver's ed training, a dull social life, and a giddy romance -- abruptly faces a new, more serious savagery, the philosophical questions of perception and movement. The adventures start out plainly enough: the narrator enters a driving schoo... ...more
By Rose (Montreal, QC, Canada) · ★★★☆☆ · November 14, 2009
I loved this. Except the last 15 pages. Dammit, I wish hadn't read them, it was so good til then!

My reading life has really been in the doldrums for months. Partly I've been busy/preoccupied/tired, but also, I'm a very orderly reader. I don't like to be reading a lot of stuff at once. It makes me... ...more