And a Frenchman wins it…

So the Nobel this year goes to French novelist J.M.G. Le Clézio. Not a bad choice, though not a very inspired one either. (My secret hopes were Danish poet Inger Christensen, Syrian poet Adonis, John Ashbery from just down the road a few miles, Lebanese poet Salah Stétié or Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo.) Here is the New York Times article on Le Clézio. Few of his books have been translated into English, though obviously the NY trade publishers will now fall into feeding frenzy.
I read a fair amount of Le Clézio in my late teens when his first books came out, but soon tired of the rather flat, affectless prose, not really Nouveau Roman or boundary breaking in terms of the conventions of fiction, but also not of the philosophical depth and breathtaking virtuosity of Maurice Blanchot’s novels and récits which began obsessing me at the same time. Went back to Le Clézio much later, when he came out with Le Désert (not translated into English, as far as I know) to which I was attracted by its Maghrebian setting, and have enjoyed his subsequent writings more for their geographical adventures and their ecological concerns than for their purely literary qualities.
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  1. dbuuck says:

    yes Inger! yes Goytisolo! yes Adonis!
    others that I would've preferred (& at least seem feasible?)-

    Ngugi wa Thiongo
    Ursula le Guin
    Kamau Brathwaite
    Antonio Lobo Antunes
    Pramodeya Toer
    Mo Yan
    Margaret Atwood
    Anne Carson
    Carlos Fuentes
    Chinua Achebe

  2. Andy Nicholson says:

    I would be more delighted to see the award go to Christensen, Adonis, or Ashbery than it to go to most any of the recipients in the past couple of decades (although if I examined the list, surely there are a few recipients I do or would adore).

  3. C Murray says:

    I have to same I am surprised at
    Sarkozy’s response, his immigration
    policy would be quite heavily
    scrutinised – up to and including
    the education and language issue.

    I do not have an available link
    but a friend of mine has worked on
    documentaries and movies re
    Linguistics and treatment of
    language groups under ‘Sarko’
    governance and tis not pretty.

    esp in relation to the current
    African policy.

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