Alain Robbe-Grillet had traditionally been seen as an austere experimentalist in fiction, addicted to arid and interminable descriptions of objects like coffee pots, erasers and pieces of string. His own rather bellicose theoretical pronouncements were partly to blame for this unattractive picture, belied by the immense popular success of the film Last Year at Marienbad (1961) (made by Alain Resnais from Robbe-Grillet's script) and the high critical esteem in which novels like Jealousy and The Voyeur are held.

In his original study, first published in 1983, John Fletcher attempts to resolve this paradox by offering a new interpretation of Robbe-Grillet's work which stresses the subversive qualities of his imagination and the disturbing power of his vision of a world of labyrinths and bizarre sexual stereotypes, haunted by images of love and loss.

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