Mar 13, 2014
I have enjoyed the book, but in different ways as I was advancing on its pages.
I find the first half of the book as a nostalgic description of the mostly nice memories the author has from his childhood in Nigeria. The manner how he describes that time of his life and the feelings he had to the land and people there made me remember my own chilhood in a place closer to Africa in several senses than many of the people I met as a child would admit now. This part is mostly about the boy and the view, through his candid eyes, of the world (the people, the animals, the landscapes) that was in front of him.
But then, almost suddenly, we start to learn about the African, about war, loneliness, the unfairness and unjustices of the colonialism and how all of them left a deep scar in the personality of the writer's father. That changed the life of the family too, and Le Clezio masterly uses the book to try to learn, to try to justify, to try to forgive his own father while at the same time criticizes the behaviour of the colonial powers and the greed of its people in Africa, the absurdity of the war and the everyday fight against death that we can still find in many developing countries. Instead of the child, we hear now the voice of the adult, the man trying to understand his father in an uncomprehensible world.
I find this book amazing because the author deals with all that social, psicological, antropological and even political complexity easily, in a quite short book, seemingly without any effort, as talking to a good friend while drinking a cup of tea. But the memories, the sentiments and the realities described are far from simple, far from easy to write about.
I think I will read more books that came out from your typewriter, monsieur Le Clezio.
Mar 2, 2014
In the second half of the book, we read a more intimate part of the story. Le Clezio talks about his father, his personality, his relationships with his children, with the people he works. He searches for the causes of what made his father an unhappy man, unable to show love for his children, and he blames the war. What else is there? Do you agree with this vision?