Perhaps Le Clézio, because of his simple prose style and his child-like writer's eye, is more linguistically and formally subtle than other contemporary writers in bringing us into exigency, in asking questions about the possibility of personal freedom from within these crises, but he is no less gifted for being modest in his presentation. Le Clézio's work reminds me that the conditions for the performance of a "modernist" novel to be meaningful needn’t always be only formalistic if the novel is drawn from a soulful center. The very fact that it draws from subjectivity, allowing one personal consciousness to be the reliable teller of fact and situation can be as rich and wide a sweep as any other novel's framework and process.
Later on, Skolkin-Smith again reminded me of Coetzee when she writes:
In these passages, Le Clézio has, for me, captured a tragedy and made all the more powerful by simple, evocative and imagistic prose, a writing which is tender and purposely naïve — it is as if two children, equally imprisoned somewhere in history, manufactured into enemies by foreign forces were separately told the same fairy tale and went out to search for it, unaware that each was going for the same stretch of magical spaces and land, a stretch impossible for them to inhabit together. In the end, the fever dream of the promised "Eretz Israel" was a cruel fatalism for each, Arab and Jew alike.
There is so much to write about that arises from reading Le Clézio — it's hard to say it all here. But this was a really important book for me to find. I'll be reading it again and again, and want to read more of his work. I can't help referring back to Sartre's question on whether or not "literature can be useful?" And reflect on something Camus said at the time in defense of criticism that Sartre's dark reasoning about what does exist for moral choices is at once brutal and enlightening all at the same time. As in Sartre, this tale of those lost in the quake of fever dreams seems to tell us about a state of human affairs sometimes too horribly painful and futile to bear. But, as Camus said of Sartre's work: "A great writer always brings his own world and its message. M. Sartre's brings us nothingness, but also to lucidity. And the image he perpetuates through his characters, of a man seated amid the ruins of his life, is a good illustration of the greatness and truth of this work."
- JM Coetzee in the Promised Land
- The Disgrace Movie Trailer
- Review of Diary of a Bad Year by JM Coetzee
- How Did Le Clezio's Nobel Win Change His Publisher?
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