Terra Amata (French) Mass Market Paperback – 3 Nov 1998
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'A writer of something akin to genius' Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
J.M.G. Le Clézio was born on 13 April 1940 in Nice and was educated at the University College of Nice and at Bristol and London universities. His knowledge of English enabled him to work closely with his translator on his debut novel, The Interrogation, which won the Prix Renaudot in 1963. Since then he has written over forty highly acclaimed books and has been translated into thirty-six languages. The Interrogation is published by Penguin and three of his early novels are now Penguin Modern Classics: The Flood, Terra Amata and Fever. Le Clézio divides his time between France (Nice, Paris and Brittany), New Mexico and Mauritius. In 2008 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chancelade is the hero of this book, but as a character he does not exist. He is engulphed by his author’s meditations, a puppet who has a name but who is really just a presence, a consciousness, a vehicle for his creator. True, the book is held together by the birth-to-death sequence through which the hero passes, but rather like Bea B and Monsieur X in the same author’s War, he is a mirror-reflecting character called Everyman; except that he doesn’t do anything, has no ambition and doesn’t learn anything from his intense experiences of nature: ‘Chancelade was being devoured alive by the monster without thought and without love, and soon he would be nothing but a room, a mere room with bloodstained walls, hard furniture, and a window of cold glass.’ Clearly the reader is not in the world of Pip or Mr Polly, (and neither is it Bloom’s Dublin or Clarissa Dalloway’s London) but is cast adrift in a void in which ‘there were no more men, no more women, no more anything anywhere.’
In a gallimaufry chapter called ‘To Tell the Whole Truth’ the author speaking as Chancelade poses questions such as ‘Can trees think?’ ‘Is God good?’ and ‘Am I going to die?’ After various sub-headings entitled ‘CHAMP SALADE,’ ‘Kissing in the Korean Style,’ ‘A Paradise,’ and a visit to Mina washing her hair in another room, our hero is left on the toilet, wondering ‘What use was the sun? What use was the moon, trees, poppies?’ and bored with all this he leaves the Whole Truth ‘the cistern flushing loudly behind him.’
In this most bizarre novel Le Clezio manages to pack in a great deal of thought and some brilliant passages of description, notably the account of the boy attacking an ants’ nest. But although ‘filled with cosmic ruminations, lyrical description and virtuoso games of language’ as the back
Le Clezio you have changed!