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Customer Review

on 21 February 2009
This is the first novel I read by J.M.G Le Clezio and I must say I found it to be quite different from anything I have ever read. Despite it being quite short, it is very deep and I feel that I missed a lot of the underlying themes. I don't think this should put anyone off though, instead it should be embraced and enjoyed especially when being read more than once!
Fintan and his mother, Maou, travel from France to Nigeria to a small, hidden-away village which goes by the mysterious & exotic name of Onitsha. The description of the sea-voyage itself is captivating and I am not exaggerating when I say that I almost felt I was making the voyage myself. The whole novel is written in descriptive language which at times seems very mythical and dream-like, especially during descriptions of ancient traditions and rituals and when depicting the fascination Geoffrey (Maou's husband)has for Africa. There is a distinct difference in the way Maou interacts with the locals compared to the colonialists already living there; this serves to illustrate the negativity associated with colonialism,the way it disrupts and destroys the local life and customs.
I recommend this book to serious readers who will be able to fully enjoy it and understand it (as the language is moderately challenging and long descriptions do constitute most of the book) and manage to get the most out of it.
The reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is because I found some paragraphs to be too abstract for my taste, all about'mythology' and traditions and furthermore Oya herself was quite disturbing and strange in my opinion(which is part of her allure I guess but it still served to alienate me )
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Product Details

3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars