Before Sartre, before Beckett, before Robbe-Grillet, Maurice Blanchot created the "new novel, " the ultimate post-modern fiction. Written between 1932 and 1940, Blanchot's first novel, here brilliantly translated, contains all the remarkable aspects of his famous and perplexing invention, "the ontological narrative" -- a tale whose subject is the nature of being itself. This paradoxical work discovers being in the absence of being, mystery in the absence of mystery, both to be searched for limitlessly. As Blanchot launches this endless search in his own masterful way, he transforms the possibilities of the novel. First issued in English 26 years ago in a limited edition, this re-issue of the Station Hill Press trade version includes an illuminating essay on translation by Robert Lamberton.