The Infinitesimal Novel

Lindon asked me, one day, if I knew what this new literary movement could be called. Back then, I had dodged the question, but now, eighteen years later, I think I can answer it. It took me quite some time, about twenty years of reflection, but I found the answer. The answer is in the last words of Making Love, where I’m writing about an infinitesimal disaster. I didn’t write “infinitesimal” thinking of a theory, but I didn’t write this word lightly either. Infinitesimal is the response, and I suggest speaking of “the infinitesimal novel.” The problem with the idea of the “minimalist novel” is that it’s very simplistic. The term “minimalist” calls to mind the infinitely small, whereas “infinitesimal” evokes the infinitely large as much as the infinitely small: it contains the two extremes that should always be found in my books.

Jean-Philippe Toussaint in a 2007 interview with Laurrent Demoulin (translated in Context 22).