He writes a lot of books with short titles featuring blunt objects, like: "The Fork," or "The Cola Can," or "Flat Tire and Cow Skull," or "The Round and Other Cold Hard Facts."
If I ever see one of his paperbacks on sale on some cart somewhere, I might pick it up and leaf through it, looking for dirty parts (he is French after all).
The Nobel Prize is only awarded to "artists" who have done work that tends toward a lofty ideal and offers hope to humanity. That guy with the beard and backpack who loves to read Hesse and smoke weed? He is the Nobel Prize statue. He is made of bronze, and he is looking sadly into the distance, agonizing over whether or not he should sign a petition to end pain.
From a "Label France" Interview w/ Le Clezio:
Q: It is said that you are a potential Nobel prizewinner. Let's imagine that you are awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature tomorrow. What would you like to say at the award ceremony?
A: That's a very hypothetical question! I don't know for the Nobel prize but I know what I would like to talk about publicly. I would like to talk about the war that kills children. This, for me, is the most terrible thing of our age. Literature is also a means of reminding people of this tragedy and bringing it back to centre stage. In Paris recently, statues of women were veiled in order to condemn the fact that women in Afghanistan are denied freedom. That's very good. In the same way, we should mark all the statues of children with a big red spot over the heart as a reminder that at every moment, somewhere in Palestine, South America or Africa, a child is killed by bullets. People never talk about that!
Q: Can literature affect this chaos, transform it?
A: We no longer have the presumptuousness to believe, as they did in Sartre's day, that a novel can change the world. Today, writers can only record their political impotence. When you read Sartre, Camus, Dos Passos or Steinbeck you can clearly see that these great committed writers had limitless confidence in the future of mankind and in the power of the written word. I remember that when I was eighteen, I read editorials by Sartre, Camus and Mauriac in L'Express. They were committed essays which showed the way. Can anyone conceivably imagine today that an editorial in a newspaper could help solve the problems that are ruining our lives? Contemporary literature is a literature of despair.
Witness: wallowing in idealism (or despair) is the opposite of what an artist ought to do, unless they are playing a fun game about it. Writers either should give comfort to the absolutely demoralized through mean jokes or they should piss off the complacent through observations that shatter. Hell yes, stories can be powerful. Stories make you want to tell stories, for instance. If you want to see a list of writers who have failed at this, become obsessed with politics, and who have been given the consolation prize of enumerated immortality, check out the Nobel Prize winners over the years. Is that really the list of the best writers of the 20th century? Really? REALLY?
Think about it: both Hemingway, and Faulkner, but not Fitzgerald. Wrong fucking WRONG.
Oh sure, the committee has made some mistakes, of course, and has accidentally championed people who weren't soulful mediocrities. Doris Lessing and William Golding? Huh?
But this Le Clezio guy doesn't seem to be a mistake.
Second place, all the way. He will die consoled, with his eyes crinkled at the edges.
His sweetheart...a tear...a gripped hand...
Posted by miracle on Sat, 18 Oct 2008 01:40:00 -0400 -- permanent link