Adam Roberts of the Valve writes about this relatively unknown laureate:
"...until the mid-1970s, Le Clézio’s novels were formally experimental examples of the nouveau roman but that subsequently ‘he abandoned experimentation, and the mood of his novels became less tormented as he broached themes like childhood, adolescence, and traveling, which attracted a broader, more popular audience’.
Actually, his later books mostly seem to be versions of the lives of his family: La Quarantaine (1995) is about his grandfather; L’Africain (2004) about his own boyhood in Niger where his rather severe-sounding father worked as a doctor; Ritournelle de la faim (2008) is based on the life of his own mother, and so on.
Throughout his career he has demonstrated a thoroughly commendable interest in the dispossessed, the marginalised, the racially and economically displaced and oppressed. There are novels about indigenous mesoamerican culture, which he apparently admires greatly; there are are a good number about North and Central Africa; and there are novels from other sites of human suffering and endurance. In Etoile errante (1992) Esther, a Jewish survivor of the Nazis, treks arduously towards postwar Jerusalem to start a new life, passing, coming the other way, ‘a stream of equally despairing, newly displaced refugees, among them Nejma, a Palestinian girl. Nejma then chronicles the misery of a gravely ill-provisioned camp and her heroic escape.’Which sounds like a bag of laughs. More to the point, the Nobel citation praises Le Clézio as ‘author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization,’ which sounds good."