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The Prospector by J. M. G. Le Clezio

The Prospector (1985)

by J. M. G. Le Clezio

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3151035,272 (3.86)85



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English (8)  French (2)  All (10)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
C'est comme toujours avec les 'grands' auteurs: la description du texte du rabat, je ne la retrouve que de facon déformée ou trop vague ans le livre même. Je trouve cette cryptisation d'un contenu assez simple difficile à supporter. Ou bien c'est le texte du rabat qui est une simplification méconnaisable du contenu. En tout cas, les deux ne coincident pas.
J'aime bien le style, mais n'arrive pas à comprendre le protagoniste.
  Kindlegohome | Jul 9, 2015 |
Lots of symbolism (e.g., modern man's yearning to return to paradise lost; man's inhumanity to man, whether family member or stranger; the meaning/value of life; the grass is always greener elsewhere, etc.). Minimal plot and character development. Lovely images. Reminds me of Saramago's "The Cave". ( )
  alexandriaginni | Apr 3, 2013 |
A sun drenched prose poem about the sea and the loss of childhood. Some of my comments here:

http://drconway.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/the-return-of-pierre-and-virginia-or-th... ( )
  ChrisConway | Dec 13, 2011 |
This, then, is the story: Boy leaves home in search of treasure. He eventually returns, but “home” is no longer what he remembers. And yet despite the fact that Ali’s journey involves storms and sea voyages, treasure hunts and surviving Ypres and the Battle of Somme, the story is almost equally one of internal voyages as it is external adventure. It is one of those books where even when apparently nothing happens it seems like everything has happened. Where long years seem packed into tiny moments of epiphany; an account of a walk to the beach is just as fraught as an account of a typhoon sweeping over the island. A description of slaughtering sea turtles for dinner as horrific as walking through a field of battle piled with the bloated corpses of dead horses. A man thrown into a furnace during a labor riot and a girl grilling fish on a beach both carry a kind of shattering, bright clarity. Perhaps because the voice is almost entirely in the present tense, it makes even the smallest moments seem immediate and vivid, and the smallest actions weighted with intensity—as if things could fly off into unknown directions at any point, since the future is as unknown and mysterious to Ali as he is telling his story, as it is to us in our own lives. full review
  southernbooklady | Oct 10, 2011 |
This novel about a man's search for a lost treasure and personal fulfillment begins on the island of Mauritius in 1892, where the eight year old Alexis L'Estang lives with his parents and beloved older sister Laure in an isolated house, surrounded by rich foliage and close to the sea, which nurtures and draws him in every night. His older friend Denis, the son of the black cook who lives nearby, teaches him about the mysteries of the sea and the local flora in the mountainous forest above it. His father also passes on to him his dream to find the hidden treasure of the Unknown Corsair, through maps and stories.

The family's idyllic existence is disrupted by tragedy, causing it to sink into poverty, and Alexis is forced to take on responsibilities in advance of his years. However, he does not abandon his father's dream, and he eventually travels to the island of Rodrigues to seek the treasure that will ensure his family's good standing. There he meets Ouma, the love of his life, but his search is disrupted by the onset of the Great War, and he must abandon his search, and Ouma. Eventually he is able to return, as an older man whose dream and love have not been diminished by time, but his family's continued poverty and changes in the region cause his dual goals to become more distant and seemingly unachievable.

The Prospector is filled with evocative descriptions of the sea and island life, which was its main strength, along with the love that Alexis and Ouma shared for each other, and the description of the horrors of trench warfare. However, the other characters, especially Laure and Alexis' mother, were not portrayed as richly, and I had some difficulty in understanding Alexis' motivations and actions. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed, and would highly recommend, this beautifully told story. ( )
2 vote kidzdoc | Jul 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The Prospector offers a wonderful one-volume compendium of all the grand myths rooted in the European colonial experience, combining elements from Paul et Virginie, Robinson Crusoe, and Indiana Jones. Alexis, known as Ali, and his beloved sister, Laure, live in an Eden nestled on the island of Mauritius. A child drawn to nature, he is nevertheless most enthralled by his father's dreams of a privateer's treasure. Yet this same father's vision of bringing electricity to the island leads to the family's ruin (thanks to a ferocious hurricane, brilliantly described). To recover his family's paradise lost, the adult Ali embarks upon a hunt for the pirate's gold. "I left to put an end to the dream, in order that my life might begin. I am going to take this journey to its conclusion. I know that I will find something."
The present tense seems to be more fre­quently employed by modern French novelists than by their British or American counterparts; but few contemporary writers can have resorted to it so consistently as Le Clézio. Concomitant with his absorption in a continuous present is an impulse to unrestrained exten­sion. "Comme il est long, le temps de la mer!" exclaims the narrator of his latest novel, the Mauritian Alexis L'Estang, resuming his obsessive search for pirate gold in the Indian Ocean on returning from service in the tren­ches of the First World War. His story begins in 1892, when he is eight, and spans thirty years; yet despite the dates, the novel is in no sense a historical one, but could be most fittingly described as a fable. Its characters are of quasi-archetypal simplicity, and they communicate in dialogue of taciturn breviloquence. Apart from the narrator's abiding but tenuous relationship with his sister Laure, the novel's principal human interest centres on his chastely erotic idyll with Ouma, the young native girl or "manaf" he finds on the island of Rodrigues, to which plans left him by his father have led him in search of a hoard of plundered gold concealed there by a legendary corsair.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. M. G. Le Clezioprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marks, CarolTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my grandfather, Léon
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As far back as I can remember I have listened to the sea: to the sound of it mingling with the wind in the filao needles, the wind that never stopped blowing, even whn one left the shore behind and crossed the sugarcane fields.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 087923976X, Hardcover)

The Prospector is the crowning achievement from one of France's preeminent contemporary novelists and a work rich with sensuality and haunting resonance. It is the turn of the century on the island of Mauritius, and young Alexis L'Etang enjoys an idyllic existence with his parents and beloved sister: sampling the pleasures of privilege, exploring the constellations and tropical flora, and dreaming of treasure buried long ago by the legendary Unknown Corsair. But with his father's death, Alexis must leave his childhood paradise and enter the harsh world of privation and shame. Years later, Alexis has become obsessed with the idea of finding the Corsair's treasure and, through it, the lost magic and opulence of his youth. He abandons job and family, setting off on a quest that will take him from remote tropical islands to the hell of World War I, and from a love affair with the elusive Ouma to a momentous confrontation with the search that has consumed his life. By turns harsh and lyrical, pointed and nostalgic, The Prospector is 'a parable of the human condition;' (Le Mond) by one of the most significant literary figures in Europe today. (Verba Mundi)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:58 -0400)

Obsessed with the idea of finding the Corsair treasure he heard about in his youth, Alexis L'Etang abandons his job and family, setting off on a quest that will take him from remote tropical islands to the hell of the First World War, and from a love affair with the elusive Ouma to a momentous confrontation with the search that has consumed his life.… (more)

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