Reminiscent of Orson Welles's The Third Man, Repetition is an atmospheric spy novel of violence, mystery, and tricks of the eye, set in a bombed-out 1949 Berlin. Henri Robin, a special agent of the French secret service, arrives in the ruined city and feels linked to it by a vague and recurrent memory. There is a shooting, a kidnapping, druggings, encounters with pimps and teenage whores, police interrogations, even torture. Bits and pieces of the Oedipus story resonate through the book's elegant labyrinth as Robin slowly senses that he was in Berlin before as a child, with his mother, perhaps looking for his father. A brilliantly executed novel in prose of an almost hallucinatory richness, Repetition is proof that Robbe-Grillet's vision is, in a time of identity theft and porous nationhood, more relevant than ever.