Most of us would have heard the author’s name for the first time when he won the Noble prize for literature,as is in most cases when author is not English or American.
Désert is written by “Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio” identified commonly as J. M. G. Le Clézio.This book is the perfect example of why Le Clézio won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature;announcing the award swedish academy called le Clézio “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.”this piece of work is considered to be his breakthrough novel.It’s English edition is translated by C. Dickson & David R. Godine.This epic novel narrates the story of last free people “the blue people” of Africa,legacy of the colonial expansion and the strength and endurance of desert nomads.
Désert is split into two parallel story lines,first one is set during 19..09-12 when the “Blue people”the last free nomadic tribes of Africa, are pushed deeper into the desert by the French colonial armies,and story of their their last uprising,this is told from perspective of a young boy Nour.the other storyline is set presumably years after WWII,of a desendant of the blue people of the desert; Lalla, living in some shanty city of the coast of Morocco.
This tale is spread across two continents along the coast of Mediterranean. Exile,refuge,displacement and ethnic cleansing considered “the bane of civilization” are the main themes of Désert.It depicts the endurance of human nature in form of resistance and obsitnacy shown by the blue people when they resist and revolt against the French colonial expansion,and later by Lalla when she is subjected to settle in civilized French civilization.Le Clézio uses empathy or rather sympathetic imagination to detail their sufferings,endurance and their history,this sympathetic imagination of Le Clézio is not bound by geography not even by time as he crosses over from one continent to other and from one generation to the next.
The power of this book comes from Le Clezio’s writing, language of this book is more poetic than prose. Narrative is much powerful,how the author depicts desert,scenarios and feelings in words is utterly amazing especially depictions of harsh beauty of Desert,its sand dunes the scorching glaze, dry cleansing wind and its frigid nights are a constant presence throughout the whole book.Le Clézio delivers the feelings and ideas by a controversion between silence and the words,and how the story is told by an omniscient narrative with almost no dialogue just makes it more engrossing,with no breaks in the flow to disrupt the line of thoughts of the reader.
This is the best book which romanticizes with poverty immigration,exile and the harsh life of the so called losers,history mostly relates the tale of the winners,and not even a thought is spared for the harsh conditions of “losers” lives.This novel does not just scratch the surface rather it takes us to greater depths,it allows and encourages the reader to see beneath the surface and look into reality.
I would just say that Le Clézio is a painter and to watch how a masterpiece is created,one must practise patience,same is the case with this book,you have to be patient and let the magic happen…
You just read how amazing Désert is;you can buy it at:
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