INCEST, BY CHRISTINE ANGOT, TRANSLATED BY TESS LEWIS
Christine Angot’s Incest depicts a whirlpool of suffering. Here, the reader is inextricably pulled into a vortex of lust, violence, and incest, into a world where the tragedy of love is having “your own self torn away,” where the lines between father, lover, daughter, water lily, and dog become blurred and confused. With a raw and frenzied form and an unabashed honesty which blurs the line between fiction and autobiography, Angot presents an earnest attempt at self-analysis through writing. After all, the narrator argues, “writing is a kind of rampart against insanity.” In Incest, it becomes a tool with which to wrestle with and untangle issues of family, mental health, and sexuality in light of the narrator’s recent, passionate lesbian affair and the echoes of her incestuous relationship with her father.
The exquisite frenzy of the novel is captured masterfully in Tess Lewis’ translation, which preserves not just the passion and the mania of Angot’s narrator, but her wit and her wordplay as well. Lewis has managed to get inside the narrator’s head and translate her essence and energy, as well as her words, perfectly into English.