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Michel Tournier, Le Fétichiste

June 6th, 2012 · No Comments

Michel Tournier
Le Fétichiste
Un acte pour un homme seul

Gallimard 1997
reviewed by Gary Levinson

Le Fétichiste is an almost one person play consisting of a monologue in which the actor in quite lucid terms, explains to us how he ended up where he is and makes us privilege to the details of his ‘fetish’.

As defined by a ‘fetish’ is “something to which one is irrationally devoted”.  Our hero is anything but irrational.  If we think of a fetish as an interest in something – which it unquestionably is – he is simply pursuing his interests.  Our hero takes a great interest in women’s undergarments.  Think of it as his hobby.

The problem is that his hobby leads him down a path of larceny.  (What exactly do you think it is that he’s nicking?)

The value of this play is for the insight it gives us into the lives of people with so-called fetishes (think of them as ‘hobbies’…), and although he’s actually an almost completely rational person, he ends up getting treatment as someone who is mentally health-challenged.

Anyway, the reader develops an acute empathy for our hero, and learns to easily overlook his kleptomania.  In fact, I think I’m beginning to understand him quite well.  There is this lingerie shop that I often pass by, while I’m about on my way, and today, I think I’ll stop in and check it out….

The introduction was also quite lucid, and leaves us with this interesting remark, to which we all can relate:  “[in referring to a despot] Non, on l’aura compris, le seul être dont je revendique absolument la place, c’est Dieu.”

I really enjoyed it.

reviewed by Gary Levinson
review © copyright Levinson 2012