Synopses & Reviews
"One of the few works by 2008 Nobel laureate Le Clzio to be translated into English, this mythic novel tells two parallel stories of descendants of a holy man called Al Azraq. The novel begins with Nour, a Berber boy who bears witness to the failed rebellion led by Sheik Ma el Anine against the French in the years leading up to WWI. In the cadences of an incantation, Le Clzio renders the dire suffering of the displaced desert peoples who turn to Ma el Anine for guidance. The parallel story, set in the near-contemporary, portrays Lalla, a young woman who lives on the Moroccan coast and spends her days exploring the seashore and listening to the stories of her aunt and the fisherman Old Naman. After escaping an arranged marriage, Lalla lands in Marseille and finds not the gleaming white city of Naman's stories but a cruel place cut off from nature. Le Clzio's vision is cinematic, his language lyrical and the lives he portrays are vivid and convincing. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Yes, American readers need to demand translation of important foreign works — but, also, they need to pull them off the shelves and dive in. Desert
is a great choice for a first date with this major French writer." Maya Muir, The Oregonian
(read the entire Oregonian review
The Swedish academy, in awarding J.M.G. Le Cezio the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, praised Desert as Le Cleio's definitive breakthrough as a novelist. Published in France in 1980, Desert received the Grand Prix Paul Morand from the Academie Francaise, was translated into twenty-three languages, and quickly proved to be a best-selling novel in many countries around the world.