Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nobel Prize (Literature) for Jean-Marie Le Clézio

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."


Anonymous said...

he deserved it because french literature still remains strong[arrabal,bruckner,butor,tournier,houellebeque,kundera]
it contains erotonomicon that
socked the greek public opinion
with its sensualism and sexuality and the publishing houses for its
literature innovations
and the poems new york olympia and exhibition of orthodromic retrospection

Alan Le Bras said...

You can now add a French book to the list of the 50 / 100 books to be read before you die. (or is it 500 / 1000 books ? ...)
I would recommend the following : "Mondo et autres histoires" (there's even a movie that has been shot out of it by famous movie maker Tony Gattlif ).
And for once, this French writer is a very modest yet talented one.

Alwyn said...

In the area of French movies, I'm kinda partial to Jean Reno and that guy who did Cyrano de Bergerac...i think he was also one of the Four Musketeers acting alongside Leonardo di Caprio and Jeremy Irons many years ago...

Alan Le Bras said...

If I may say, French literature does not deserve anything, only this author does. French literature is not an endangered species yet, as there are so many active and worth reading authors: Jean Echenoz, Catherine Millet, Philippe Besson, Anna Gavalda, Philippe Sollers, and Nina Bouraoui to name a few.
These authors could garner more readers would their marketing executives do a better job at promoting their works abroad, opening up beyond the Hexagone.

Bruno said...

I add, you can read "Le petit prince" from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, "The little prince" in English . This book is amazing and readable at 8, 18, 28, or 88 years old:)
One of my favorite books.

Benedict said...

Bruno, it's NOT just amazing at all!! It's awesome!! It will be loved by anyone of any age.