conte philosophique, the whimsy andngruesomeness of fairy tales, the multiplicitynof meanings indigenous to thenparable and the post-Nietzschean consciousnessnof solitude. His novels arenphilosophical meditations on the selfnand the other, and their content is invariablynmythological in nature.nSince mythology and initiation formnthe warp and woof of Tournier’s writing,nthe material which he weaves is checkerednwith offbeat typology: dwarfs,ngiants, ogres, twins, homosexuals, mentallynand physically handicapped individuals.nMoreover—as is often the case innmythological and initiatory accountsn—air, wind, fire and earth are personifiednto the extent that they become actualncharacters in the novels. Part of thensinister quality of the writing comes fromnits involvement with the aberrant andnthe freakish. With this reversal of then”usual” viewpoint, the regular world isnfrequendy depicted as crippled and deviant,ndeformed and anomolous.nlournier’s third novel, Gemini,nwhich takes place primarily in France betweenn1930 and 1962, is his modernnmythological interpretation of twinshipnand of meteorological phenomena.nSince the novel is titled after Aristotle’snMeterologica, it is not surprising that thenmotivating subject is that oile temps—nweather and time—both of which werenclosely associated in Greek mythology.nGemini’s protagonists, a set of twinsnwith extraordinary powers, are reminiscentnof mythological figures such asnCastor and Pollux.nTournier’s heroes, Jean and PaulnSurin, are remarkable by virtue of theirntwinship, which has endowed them withnthe ability to communicate with eachnother in their own language, to understandnmentally handicapped individualsnand eventually, in the case of Paul, to becomenassimilated with the meteorologicalnworkings of the universe. Tourniernintimates that the twins are able to speaknthe secret language of creation and thusnto revert to a period prior to the Fall whennall things were implicidy understood innunified harmony. That harmony is alsoninherent in Tournier’s choice of twins asnprotagonists. By establishing an incestuousnrelationship between the brothers,nTournier attempts to aeate his version ofnone of the great myths—that of the perfectnunified self—the androgynous entity.nBut the unit Jean-Paul, which Tourniernendows with agelessness while theyn”A whole world is implicated in the issues this book debates.”naie together, splits like the zygote fromnwhich they originated, and one twin’snsearch for his brother becomes the paradigmnfor all great searches for fulfillment.nThe quest of Paid for Jean is, ofncourse, also a parabolic search for self. FornTournier, as for Faulkner, “doublingnand incest are both images of the selfenclosed—theninability of the ego tonbreak out of the circle of the self.”*nThis inability of Tournier’s protagonistsnto break out of their respective selvesnis the reason for their separation fromntheir communities at the beginning asnwell as at the end. Their only possibilitynfor reintegration lies in their total trans-ncendence of self. Not only do all of thendoubles, or surrogate doubles, in Tournier’snnovels disintegrate, but the strainnof selfhood is such that the heroes unanimouslynseek reabsorption in the universalnanima. With these apotheoses, thenprotagonists attain the most valuablenprize of mythology—immortality. Tourniernjuxtaposes the quest of the twinsnwith that of their notorious homosexualnuncle, Alexandre, who, upon the deathnof his father, takes over the family’s vastntrash-disposal empire, TURDCO. Alexandre,nlike the twins, is seeking transcendencenbut whereas the latters’ isnprimarily celestial, the former’s is exclusivelyncarnal. The futility of Alexandre’snsearch and its perverted aspect are implicitnin the empire over which he reignsn—that of the physically worn out, thendecomposed, the dead.nIn startling contrast to the scatologicalnaspect of Gemini, Tournier makes use ofnBiblical quotations which are accompaniednby prolonged speculation on thennature of the Trinity, in particular onnthat of the Paraclete. Moreover, by linkingnthe four winds with the Holy Spirit,n— Chicago TribunenTournier integrates Christian theologynwith pagan mythology in which thenwinds are deified. This association leads,nin turn, to a metaphorical assimilation ofnall speech with the in-spired speech ofnthe Pentecostal Paraclete.nUnfortunately, despite occasionalnflashes of brilliance, the scatological pollutesnthe ontological in Gemini, and thennovel as a whole sufifers. Moreover, fromna structural point of view, the novel isnweak: too many characters, locations,nplots and subplots are not tightiy enoughnintegrated to form a cohesive whole.nThese weaknesses, coupled with a strongnphilosophical current which is never fullyn*John Irwin, Doubling Sc Incest/Repitition & explained and an unpalatable hedon­nRevenge (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins ism, combine, unfortunately, to makenPress, 1975), p. 55.nthe novel a chefd’oeuvre manque’. •nnn••H^iMsanMay/Jttnel98Sn