Literary Saloon
Site of Review.

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

the Best
the Rest
Review Index




to e-mail us:

support the site

In Association with Amazon.com

In association with Amazon.com - UK

In association with Amazon.ca - Canada



In association with Amazon.it - Italia

the Complete Review
the complete review - non-fiction

Urgency and Patience

Jean-Philippe Toussaint

general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Urgency and Patience

Title: Urgency and Patience
Author: Jean-Philippe Toussaint
Genre: Non-fiction
Written: 2012 (Eng. 2015)
Length: 57 pages
Original in: French
Availability: Urgency and Patience - US
Urgency and Patience - UK
Urgency and Patience - Canada
L'urgence et la patience - Canada
L'urgence et la patience - France
Die Dringlichkeit und die Geduld - Deutschland
L'urgenza e la pazienza - Italia
  • French title: L'urgence et la patience
  • Translated by Edward Gauvin

- Return to top of the page -

Our Assessment:

B+ : very slim but strong short pieces

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
NZZ . 7/2/2013 Ingeborg Waldinger
Nouvel Observateur . 1/3/2012 Jérôme Garcin
Die Welt . 27/10/2012 Tilman Krause

  From the Reviews:
  • "(E)in mitreissender assoziativer Reigen (.....) Toussaint versteht es trefflich, des Lesers Interesse zu schüren, für sein eigenes Werk wie für das seiner Idole" - Ingeborg Waldinger, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • "Sans se prendre au sérieux (d'autres que lui eussent rédigé de pompeux Mémoires), Toussaint joue ici au Scrabble de sa vie." - Jérôme Garcin, Nouvel Observateur

  • "Und das ist immer intelligent und gut formuliert, ohne dass sich irgendein Finger ehrgeizig, bärbeißig in die Lüfte stemmen würde." - Tilman Krause, Die Welt

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

- Return to top of the page -

The complete review's Review:

       Urgency and Patience collects eleven short and essentially autobiographical pieces by Jean-Philippe Toussaint -- beginning with one titled: 'The Day I Began to Write'. It is a collection on reading and writing, with an overlap among the pieces: the first one reveals that reading Crime and Punishment was decisive in leading him to try to write for himself, for example, while in 'I Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov' he focuses more closely on that reading-experience as inspiration, as the book: "opened my eyes to the power literature could have, its force , its fascinating possibilities" (after he had previously not been much of a reader).
       There is a sense of continuity and connection, as Toussaint observes, for example: "There are hotels in almost all my books" (in explaining 'How I Built Certain of My Hotels'), or considers how Proust's great work is: "a book that accompanies us throughout our lives". Indeed, much of his reflection is at least colored by the overlap of memory and experience: re-reading a text, or recalling the experience of reading it -- not just the text itself but the circumstances and locales of of reading (or writing) it. So, too, he suggests:

The best books are the ones where you remember the armchairs you sat in while reading them.
       There are also some nice short reminiscences of Samuel Beckett -- the wonderful anecdote opening For Samuel Beckett pretty much worth the cover cost -- and the great publisher Jérôme Lindon.
       The title is taken from Toussaint's suggestion and then elaboration on the idea that:
Two seemingly irreconcilable notions have always been at play in writing, I think: urgency and patience.
       It makes for a nice, tight, spare collection, Toussaint boiled down to the essentials, with no wasted words or thoughts -- and yet also with a comfortable ease to the writing (it's not forcibly compressed, either). It is also revealing, offering some insight into the author, and his becoming an author -- a welcome glimpse behind the fiction.

- M.A.Orthofer, 15 July 2015

- Return to top of the page -


Urgency and Patience: Reviews: Jean-Philippe Toussaint: Other books by Jean-Philippe Toussaint under review: Other books of interest under review:

- Return to top of the page -

About the Author:

       Jean-Philippe Toussaint was born in Brussels in 1957.

- Return to top of the page -

© 2015-2021 the complete review

Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links