Doubly Suspect

Description

161 pages
$15.00
ISBN 1-55071-113-X
DDC C843'.54

Publisher

Year

2000

Contributor

Translated by Luise von Flotow
Reviewed by Carol A. Stos

Carol A. Stos is an assistant professor of Spanish Studies at Laurentian
University.

Review

Just a few pages into Doubly Suspect, the first-person narrator writes:
“The essential information had remained hidden, and I must admit that
it is still hidden.” The essential information is hidden throughout
this slim novel of suspense, love and desire, only gradually revealing
itself and its significance and only almost becoming a certainty at the
end. On every level, this book is not what it seems to be at first
glance, and neither are its characters or the circumstances in which
they find themselves. Elusive, frustrating, and seductive questions
about identity—who we are and can be, how others see us, how we can or
cannot ever be the other, how we can be with and yet never know the
other—perplex and haunt the narrator and the reader as both shift
between truth and fiction.

Originally published in French in 1980, Le Double Suspect has been
skilfully translated by Luise von Flotow. A novel that is a journal,
based on other journals, becomes a novel; the
protagonist/narrator/writer inextricably becomes involved in the story
she is reading, becomes the person she is writing. But that person had
appropriated the experiences of yet another woman as her own and those
lies “had engendered their own truth.” Love, gender, desire,
relationships, every element of the story is fraught with ambiguity and
accidental or purposeful duplicity. Doubly Suspect, like its narrator,
is a world apart, “where fiction is not a slave to reality but serves
to expand it.” We are caught up in this expansion, in each
character’s fiction—his or her lies, fantasies, imaginings,
suspicions, anxieties—and in each character’s life, whatever we may
perceive its truth to be. Like the protagonist/narrator/writer (whose
identity we learn only toward the end), we are left wondering if we can
see the difference between fiction and fact, or, indeed, if there is
even a difference between the two.

Citation

Monette, Madeleine., “Doubly Suspect,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/7797.