The African

J. M. G. Le Clezio, trans. from the French by C. Dickson. Godine, $22.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-56792-460-2
Even in translation, Nobel Prize in Literature winner Le Clezio's sensual language seduces the reader in this emotive memoir of his childhood spent in Ogoja, a remote village in Nigeria in the late 1940s. The first half recounts his disorienting and formative experiences as a young boy in an unfamiliar country with a stark, violent landscape. Le Clezio describes learning about the world through the "immodesty" of the human body, predating language, with axiomatic declarations such as "freedom in Ogoja was the supremacy of the body." In the second half, Le Clezio begins a hesitant, almost incurious seeking out of his mysterious, authoritative father, whom he did not meet until he was eight years old. The man, referred to simply as "my father," was an ambitious, unconventional doctor who traveled extensively throughout South America and eventually brought the family to colonial Africa. Le Clezio's father's pursuit of a career "practicing medicine in emergency situations, with no equipment, no medicine" in remote areas, and his seeming ambivalence toward any sort of ‘normal' life, even when returning to France after leaving Africa makes for a fascinating portrait. However, readers are only given the briefest of glimpses. The memoir does not feel particularly urgent or meditative, but it is ephemeral and filled with paradoxes, as childhood memories, and an adult's attempt to recapture them, often are. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/07/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.