“Why does society make such monsters? »

verbal process, the primary novel by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (1963), drew the key cartography that might turn into a part of his work, impressed by town of Good, which is rarely talked about there. It’s within the metropolis on the Côte d’Azur, crushed by the solar, that his unusual hero roams, his interior chaos reflecting the chaos of this place. Town through which he was born is marked by the author doubly: its magnificence and battle. There he skilled an underground life and violence incomprehensible to the little youngster he was.

Good is a metropolis of nice vacancy: starvation and uncertainty, the absence of a father left in Africa. These themes echo the conditions within the novel. Starvation Ritual. Remembering the liberation skilled in Good, JMG Le Clézio writes: “This starvation is in me. I can not neglect it. It sheds a harsh mild that retains me from forgetting my childhood. With out her, I actually wouldn’t have remembered that point. »

The primary reminiscence of the author, instructed in youngster and battle, it’s the explosion of a bomb that shakes the world of ​​rue Carnot, close to the port of Good, the place his household retired to his grandmother’s small attic. The kid is captured this unusual feeling that the earth is changing into liquid, that nothing is already decided, that every little thing can disappear » : I did not select this second. It is a battle for a kid, he didn’t select something. »

Home on the peak of Good from minutesjust like the hinterland of Good, the place the household went into exile in 1943, is an virtually dreamlike retreat, a welcome refuge away from the traumas of town. A villa {that a} traveler might virtually discover immediately, following the paths marked within the novel.

Turning round, he might test for the presence of the blue sea, “strewn right here and there with white sails”. And he’ll see town unfold, as the author described it: “The reflection of the solar swayed like a crystal chandelier, and the waves remained in place like furrows. The sky was twice as massive, and the land in locations, particularly across the line of mountains that blocked the way in which to the ocean horizon, was poorly organized; colours have been vibrant, and volumes have been usually added to one another in unusual disregard for probably the most fundamental ideas of steadiness and perspective. »

Cross : In your lovely e book youngster and battle (1), you discuss your childhood in Good, the place you have been born on April 13, 1940, in regards to the injustice of the present wars for youngsters – Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and even youngster troopers. “You possibly can’t be a child whenever you have been born within the battle“, write your self. Did you consider them in the course of the terrorist assault on July 14, 2016?

JMG Le Clezio: This Good battle not exists as a result of the injuries heal and the promoters do the remaining. For me, these are very distant reminiscences, and completely bodily ones. However I consider that for youngsters immediately the violence stays the identical, that’s, it’s tough (apart from direct witnesses) to think about a scene of battle just like the one which came about on the Promenade des Anglais.

I additionally consider that there could be no hierarchy in violence. The cruelty, absurdity, hatred proven on this assault are equivalent to what a baby feels when a bomb falls on his home. The query that is still unanswered, and but the reply is required to hope for peace, is to know why society produces such monsters and why the explosion of violence can’t be managed.

What’s your perspective in the direction of this metropolis immediately?

JMGLC Good continues to be town of my childhood, the place I used to be born and raised, I do know it higher than another place on this planet, each avenue, each district, each backyard, each home. I do know them, however how do outdated faces acknowledge, as a result of every little thing has modified loads, particularly among the many residents. Once I was a baby, the port space was frequented by sailors, fishermen and dock employees, and now it’s a vacation vacation spot, with many eating places with terraces, vacationers from cruises or vacationers hurrying to Corsica.

The outdated metropolis was then inhabited for probably the most half by folks from Good who spoke the language and labored in small companies promoting poutine, anchoya, or basket makers, chair repairers, scissor sharpeners, haberdashers, jewelers, shoemakers, and now luxurious outlets. , typical eating places, postcard sellers. Which means I really like Good with a love that’s each disillusioned, nostalgic and fully imaginary.

Your literary work attracts inspiration from different locations of origin – Mexico, Mauritius, Africa, Brittany … What’s particular about this attachment to Good?

JMGLC: This love, blended with nostalgia, generally bitterness, ignites each time I go to Good, due to the great thing about this place, the music of its historical past, its legends, its perseverance in preserving its heritage.

You additionally recall vivid reminiscences, similar to your first ice cream overlooking the ocean, close to the Promenade des Anglais. Earlier than the battle and earlier than the terrorist assault in 2016, Good was precisely this fashion of carelessness: the solar, palm bushes, purple roofs of villas, artists, work by Matisse … Wasn’t this lightness given by the assault? weakened?

JMGLC: Good’s heritage of magnificence could be very fascinating, nothing can change it. I’m speaking not solely about museums (though the Musée des Beaux-Arts des Collinettes comprises probably the most lovely examples of Belle Époque artwork, specifically two elegant work by Maria Bashkirtseva), however about this magical mild of the Mediterranean, this metropolis. open all through historical past to the Greeks, Ligurians, in addition to the British, Russians and People.

Because the spring of 1943, your loved ones has taken refuge within the depths of Good, within the Vésubie valley. You salute the outstanding generosity and solidarity of the folks of this area: “We owe this, little question, to outlive their unshakable and unabashed heroism. » Vesubians who now welcome unlawful migrants…

JMGLC: Good skilled the most effective and worst in the course of the battle of 1939-1945, resistance fighters such because the canon of Pontremoli (later parish priest of the port church) and traitors such because the prefect who took half within the deportation of the Jews. This blended historical past continues to be felt, you can’t dwell in Good with out fascinated by the torture practiced within the basements of the large inns, the braveness of ladies like my mom who helped the resistance fighters and, above all, traveled many miles on a bicycle to seek out one thing to feed her youngsters. The inhabitants of Saint-Martin-Vésubie, the inhabitants of Roquebiller have been very brave, their actions helped to avoid wasting lives. They remained as they have been at the moment, prepared to assist the fugitives from overseas.

The story of your childhood in Good additionally mentions church buildings similar to “acquainted faces”. Have you ever visited the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assumption, the place on October 29, 2020 there was a knife assault that killed three folks?

JMGLC: No, as a result of Notre-Dame-du-Port was my parish, however I share the horror of this assault, which testifies to the fragility and innocence of locations of worship within the context of cowardly and brutal violence in Good, as in the entire world.

What do you count on from the trial of the 2016 terrorist assault, which is going down in a particular jury in Paris?

JMGLC: All victims of this heinous act have the fitting to talk, and we should take heed to them and unite them in our hearts.


JMG Le Clézio, Good and the World

April 13, 1940: Born in Good to a Breton household that emigrated to Mauritius within the 18th century.

1947: Leaves together with his mom for Nigeria to hitch his father – he’ll inform this story in “The African” (2004).

Nineteen Fifties: Returns to Good to check on the Lycée Masséna. Then he studied in Aix-en-Provence, London and Bristol.

1963: first novel, verbal process (Renudeau Award).

1967: cooperation in Thailand. Deported for condemning intercourse tourism. Despatched to Mexico. Publish Terra Amata, on the prehistoric web site of Good.

from 1970 to 1974: Shares the lifetime of the Indians in Panama.


1983: Doctoral dissertation on the historical past of the Mexican Michoacán area on the Institute of Mexican Research in Perpignan. Teaches in Bangkok, Mexico Metropolis and Albuquerque…

1992:Wandering star.


2008: Nobel Prize in Literature.

JMG Le Clézio has printed over 30 novels and a dozen essays (Gallimard, republished in folio).

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