Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Prospector by J.M.G. Le Clezio


Loved this book. Beautifully written. Haunting imagery. Stays with me even after the story has ended.

There are so many different emotions that books might leave you with. Books and good stories. Some happy, some satisfied, some sad, some angry, and some making you want the story to go on and on.
This particular book, leaves me at peace, quiet and calm.

It is a beautiful, slow, rich in its sparseness kind of narrative. Serene, poetic, lyrical.

This is my first complete read from Le Clezio. I have a couple of other books from him, which I tried to begin reading a few years ago, Fever (stories), and The Giants. I left Fever on its first story since I felt it too closely for comfort (I got temperature around the time of reading it). And I hoped it was not psychosomatic. Some day, I'll read it. The other book, The Giants is very different. It does not look like a narrative, and I don't know how to approach it.

When I picked up The Prospector, I had confused Le Clezio in my mind with Patrick Modiano. For the first few pages, it even read like a Modiano narrative. And then it dawned on me that I might get to add to my 'Read the Prize' page. It is so very different from the other two books that I have from the same author.

On to the book - This is a translated book. This edition - translation by C. Dickson (Atlantic Books imprint) seems like published this year itself. Set in early twentieth century, this book is based in Mauritius and we travel with the narrator as he grows, on his journeys, in Mauritius, and its nearby islands (Rodrigues), and a bit of First World War action territories.

I have never read anything from Mauritius earlier. And this book is a book of the islands and the sea, and journeys, and a quest - seeking something, may be some treasure or may be peace, which we seek and seek outside like the narrator, but which we invariably, in the end, find within.

It is interesting how stories of so disparate times and lands can resonate with people across the gap of time and place and culture. In the end, the questions we all seek answers to, we are on our own journeys, and the derivative/ the setting may change, but the underlying emotion stays the same, and that is why perhaps we love such stories.

Like the 4 chord songs - everyone loves them!

Enjoyed every moment of reading the book. Not in a rushed, or 'what's the next page' kind of way, but 'I'm quite enjoying the journey' kind of way. Off to look for more from the author.

A good read. Definite recommend.

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