Christine Smallwood on Christian Oster’s The Unforeseen
by Christian Oster
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Among the pleasures to be found in reading Christian Oster’s books, surprise may not numbered. The unnamed protagonist of his new novel, The Unforeseen, will be all too familiar to readers of his other works in English—this is the third of his eight novels to be translated from the French. Like the narrators of A Cleaning Woman (2001) and My Big Apartment (which won the 1999 Medicis Prize), this one is a neurotic. Like them, he is a lonely Parisian of indeterminate white-collar employment; like them, he must recover from a romance that has gone sour for no particular reason. Like them, he meets a new woman; like them, he takes a trip out of Paris. His story, like theirs, ends on a note of hope and resignation. Oster does stick to his pattern.
He’s not alone. Many writers—Updike, Hemingway, and Roth among them—
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