For over forty years, Gabriel Josipovici has maintained a stubborn rearguard action for modernism and the stylistic claims of the nouveau roman, against the philistinism he perceives in the English literary scene. Through his incisive criticism and a steady stream of short, dialogue-driven novels (Hotel Andromeda is his 18th), he’s continued to uphold a banner that most interested parties had given up for lost around 1980. When they’re good, Josipovici’s novels possess a cool tonal singularity; when they’re bad, they’re dull to the point of parody. A typical exchange of the second type occurs, for example, in his 1971 novel Words:
Louis pushed his plate away. ‘It’s funny,’ he said, ‘but you know I was often tempted to look you up. When I was in Rome. But I didn’t.’
‘No,’ she said.
‘There didn’t seem to be much point, somehow.’
The inevitable response to such passages is to tacitly agree with Louis that, no,