's novel, Nadja, tells the story of his tumultous love affair
with the woman from whom the book derives its name. However, this volume also serves as Breton's greatest encounter with his obsession- the surreal
The first, convoluted section of the novel lays out the author's interest in indefinable emotions and fortuitous occurrences. In keeping with this task, Breton makes it his mission to relate "only the most decisive episodes of my life as I can conceive it apart from its organic plan, and only insofar as it is at the mercy of chance- the merest as well as the greatest- temporarily escaping my control, admitting me to an almost forbidden world of sudden parallels, petrifying coincidences, and reflexes peculiar to each individual, of harmonies struck as though on the piano, flashes of light that would make you see, really see, if only they were not so much quicker than all the rest."
When Breton finally encounters Nadja in the second half of the book he enters full throttle into the world he seeks. This girl exists outside of the reality dictated by the material realm and seems to dwell in a dream state which only she can truly experience. It is this complete immersion in another plane of existence that fascinates Breton and compels him to love her. Ultimately, Nadja's disconnection proves too great for Breton and he is forced to end the affair. The theme of the book, and of surrealism in general, is summed up in the final line of the novel.
Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all.