Saturday, August 29, 2009

Desert in the New York Times

J.M.G. Le Clézio's newly published novel Desert is reviewed in this week's New York Times, by Elizabeth Hawes. She writes, 'The American publication of Desert is therefore an event, bringing into closer range one of the leading writers in France. Desert is a rich, sprawling, searching, poetic, provocative, broadly historic and demanding novel, which in all those ways displays the essence of Le Clézio. As a reflection on colonization and its legacy, it is painfully relevant after 30 years. [. . .] There is an element of the missionary in Le Clézio, just as there is still something of the rebel in him, in search of the new novel, trying to break loose from the traditional bonds of fiction and language to mirror a wider world — as the Nobel citation described, to explore “a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” Beneath his pantheism and ethnology, there is also a serious critic of contemporary Western civilization and its rationalism, pointing out the conflict between nature and cities, the disconnect between man and mythology.'

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