And suddenly the action resumes, without warning, and it is the same scene which proceeds all over again, very fast, always just as it was before"" and except for the mise en scene, using the same techniques both skillful and sterile just as it was before. Thus the insistent and hypnagogic repetition of detail; thus the transliteration of those details -- namely objects and images into symbols; thus the imperceptible slurring of present and past in an interchangeable then and now; thus, in spite of all its immediate, itemized paraphernalia, the antiseptic and remote quality of the novel which we know as the anti-novel in the hands of its most incorruptible practitioner. Robbe-Grillet's project however is, on a larger scale, a metaphor for both the sexual violation (really mutilation), and political violence, or both simultaneously which take place. Characters appear, disappear, reappear in dual roles. And all of it circulates, quickly, through the subways, garages and tunnels which epitomize urban life while sliding across cold and unyielding surfaces, glass and steel -- diddling and rejecting the reader in search of something palpable, let alone warm, to the touch.