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10 thoughts on “Le Procès verbal

  1. says:

    To over describe is to defamiliarize the reader with the thing described Conversely to under describe can allow the reader cognitive room to fill in the blanks Done well as here early on over description sets the reader suirming The effect is a little like chalk misapplied to a blackboard See Russian Formalism There’s a fine example of the techniue early in Charlotte Bronte’s Villette when a painting in a gallery is described The protagonist here may be mad so his hyper vigilance to setting atmosphere his and others’ bodies grates even when softened by way of third person narration It’s an admirable way to beginAdam watched them absentmindedly as though they their noise and movement had no logical connection with himself; and every sensation of his overwrought body which magnified details fashioned his being into a monstrous object a compact of pain in which consciousness of life was merely consciousness of matter through the nerves p14Adam has avoided working life the rat race it appears so he might indulge himself in a constant welter of sensory phenomenological experience He’s drunk on his sensations Thus the use of defamiliarization It occurs to me that this is very much a young man’s novel filled with the knowledge gleaned in college and marked by a shrewd talent that allows the author to place a few of these ideas in juxtaposition which in turn function as a clever narrative engine Impressive Adam’s sensibility is wholly solipsistic He’s alienated from the social so that he is incapable of giving so busy is he greedily sucking up bodily sensations He’s cruel to animals as all true dyed in the wool serial killers are He’s just ruthlessly fucked a young woman; she hasn’t been seen since; did he kill her? Adam in short is a bore but the prose is notThe novel reminds me of Lolita in this sense it’s the story of an obnoxious figure whose prose seeks to be of such overwhelming interest that we excuse forget overlook the character’s loathsomeness Humbert Humbert’s was a libertine greedy for illicit sexual pleasures self satisfactions for humiliating others as a means ego inflation and for skirting the law That’s all here in The Interrogation though Adam’s greed is for a deep form of internalized experienceWhat drives Adam is reflection lucid meditation Starting from his own human flesh from the sum of his present sensations he annihilates himself by a dual system of multiplication and identification p 154As the book crawls to its finish Adam disappears and the novel fragments into a number of discreet stories the drowned man the woman in the photographic negative etc Then we flashback to Adam at age 12 and move on to a turgid bit of pataphysics A favorite sentence “All the components of the telephone are present in the rhinoceros” p 153 The device of a torn up notebook is used written in at some point by grownup Adam thus the text is even further fragmented Eventually Adam evolves perhaps inevitably from suatter and general cynic to ebullient street corner prophet There are many ways to go insane on the page Two of my favorites are Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment and Alberto Moravia’s Contempt The Interrogation isn’t on that exalted level but it holds the reader and stays lodged in memory That is a difficult task for any writer Recommended


  2. says:

    One of the Worst Novelists to win the Nobel PrizeAfter Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize there has been a lot of writing about writers who were never awarded the Nobel and about how political the prize has often been It's also illuminating to consider writers will have gotten the prize but haven't stood the test of time There have been some astonishingly poor choices over the years This book and this author are irredeemably poor If you think this is an expressive conjuring of the mental state of a disturbed young man if you think this is a fair representation of tortured imagination you should read Schreber's Memoirs of My Mental Illness or Artaud or Genet or Burroughs or anyone Read Emil Nolde's Memoirs read something by AL Kennedy read anything Le Clezio writes whatever comes into his head at any moment There are some sustained passages in which he is imagining something from one point of view as one experience there's a chapter about a rat and one about a dead man washed up on a beach but he continuously interrupts himself with random notions names places and ideas He seems to think this is how novels work and he may also think this is how abnormal mental states feel It is childish in the bad sense of that wordAnd the Nobel Prize clearly it is evidence that for some people this kind of scattered adventitious random opportunistic bricolage is an adeuate representation of states of consciousness Such people have apparently never experienced real depths of imagination It is tremendously sad to think of that


  3. says:

    JMG Le Clezio's The Interrogation begins like a French beatnik novel We are in a Riviera resort town looking through the eyes of one Adam Pollo a suatter living in a vacation home He smokes reads newspapers and magazines works on his suntan and occasionally gets together with his girlfriend Michelle from whom he borrows money from time to timeAfter a while the relationship goes bad and Adam becomes frenzied as the weather changes from summer to winter He breaks down at one point ranting at a crowd until he is picked up and moved to a mental hospital for examinationSuddenly the merely phenomenological Adam Pollo we had known before becomes an intellectual familiar with Ruysbroek the Inca and a whole slew of mystics and philosophers This is during an interrogation by a psychiatry professor and his young students who bring out a showy response from himThe Interrogation is Le Clezio's first novel which becomes ever interesting as we see Adam developing into what? Note to Self Read Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for possible comparison


  4. says:

    A character that might as well have been a cousin of Camus' 'The Stranger' goes hypersentive to everything that goes on in hi world; crazy in other words


  5. says:

    The Nobel for Le Clezio makes me think that the Swedish Academy must be like a legislative body – it produces odd compromises that are no one's first choice My only previous experience with Le Clezio was a rather gauzy commentary on the conuest of Mexico a topic about which much has already been written with great specificity So I approached “the Investigation” with curiosity and a dash of hope especially since it took the Renaudot Prize The main character Adam Pollo does not know if he has been released from the Army or the mental hospital Le Clezio settles that point during the narrative Pollo seems detached from the norms of society has occasional outbursts some of them violent His mind focuses on extraneous minutiae Near the beginning Pollo commits what can only be described as rape but the victim has no reaction But he seems rootless and detached There are interesting moments toward the end when Le Clezio does some interesting things with form recording a psychiatric evaluation and introducing mock ups of newspapers into the text But in the end Pollo and his world seem not so much surreal as deliberately unreal Perhaps this is all a reflection of Pollo’s confused mind But the narrative thread is weak to start with and can’t stand that strain I don’t mind unreliable narrators but unreliable writers leave me cold


  6. says:

    Initially intoxicating the writing suffused with a visionary apprehension of the world like a Van Gogh world everywhere seething and alive and teetering on madness but then it kind of let me down toward the end as it wrapped itself too neatly up and strove for significance And maybe one or two too many lit tricks but still a powerful book


  7. says:

    I read this book aloud from the translation by Daphne Woodward In French the title procès verbal is accurate and broadly evocative than 'Interrogation' A 'procès verbal' may refer the minutes of a meeting such as the meeting some psychiatry students hold to uestion the protagonist in the last third of the book but it may all so refer to a summary of the facts in a criminal case which is what the whole book isOn the surface this is the story of a mentally disturbed young man who gradually slips from life suatting in a house in a southern French resort town where he is involved in something resembling a relationship with a girl through progressively bizarre actions and harangues to confinement in a mental hospital At least for me the young man in his self centered state is initially unattractive His “girlfriend”– at least she lends him money and is willing to have sex with him – he treats rather badly not only out of indifference and self preoccupation but also out of a sort of misdirected inner rage But as his struggles continue he becomes ever sympathetic and engaging until at the end he is an elouent spokesman for a view of realityThe turning point in my feelings about the protagonist is a section where he joins the crowd around the body of a drowned man that has recently been hauled from the sea There is some really remarkable writing in this part of the book which portrays in prose appropriate to each subject the reactions of the bystanders the physical reality of the waterlogged corpse the highly textured reality of the shale beach the stereotyped life of the drowned man and his family and other matters Writing in this book often shows this sort of flexibility; there is effective writing of many sorts descriptions of nature descriptions of mental states description of animals and descriptions of the nature of reality from a certain perspective Part of the novel is epistilatory consisting of letters written to the girlfriend if not delivered to herWhat is this perspective? What is his struggle about? Our protagonist is very well educated He occasionally refers to a number of obscure writers including Manilius a little known and difficult Latin poet who wrote about astronomy the Catholic mystic Jan van Ruysbroek who inclined towards pantheism and the pre Socratic philosopher Parmenides For me because his thought intrigues me Parmenides was the clue Saying almost anything about Parmenides is a controversial oversimplification but granting that Parmenides' subject is the elaboration of the relationship between the unity and diversity of things This is the protagonist's struggle to order and elaborate the relationship between diversity and unity in the broadest sense That is the reason for the different detailed descriptions of reality from different perspectives It appears in his view of the pebbly beach of the diversity of the crowd looking at the drowned man in the process of the breakdown of the drowned man's body which is devolving into components but is still a single thing in his identification with animals in zoo is what he is struggling with when his haranguing the crowd with a speech that eventually gets him committed is what he is trying to tell the students about and to tell them that understanding the unity in diversity is important than understanding whether he is mad or not


  8. says:

    If you weren't having an existential crisis when you start you will be when you finish


  9. says:

    Visionary MadnessJ M G Le Clézio who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2008 sprang to international acclaim in 1963 with this visionary novel published when he was only 23 Fragmented enigmatic and obsessive it is utterly different from his recent masterpieces such as Onitsha and Wandering Star And yet how could one not be drawn to an author who opens with a self deprecating preface in which he apologizes for the book in hand and promises to do better next time perhaps with something in the manner of Conan Doyle? There is a lightness and humor about the entire book no matter how abstruse it may get in its philosophy that kept me reading eagerly and with a smileThe principal character Adam Pollo is an educated man of about 30 whom we see suatting in an empty house above a French seaside town making occasional forays for fags beer chocolate stuff to eat and to take a look around He is unsure whether he has deserted from the army or escaped from a mental hospital He writes obsessively in a notebook in the form of letters to Michèle a young woman who visits him early in the book despite the fact that he virtually raped her some time before He follows a black dog around the town He gets into meaningless conversations with strangers or overhears scraps of dialogue and has them pullulate in his mind But most of the time he thinks with a visionary intensity that is extraordinaryA friend remarked that the isolated young man in the seaside town may be a reflection of the title character in Camus' The Stranger 1942 I myself picked up echoes of the nouveau roman movement of the 1950s in the occasional exhaustive listing of physical objects The Interrogation indeed owes a lot to the French avant garde literature that preceded it but unlike Camus' protagonist who cannot feel Adam feels too much He has an extraordinary power to penetrate the objects and life around him involving himself totally in the self immolation of insects sizzling in his candle flame or seeing the sun asan immense golden spider its rays covering the sky like tentacles some twisting others forming a huge W clinging to projections in the ground to every escarpment at fixed points All the other tentacles were undulating slowly lazily dividing into branches separating into countless ramifications splitting open and immediately closing up again waving to and fro like seaweedAdam's vision like the author's is that of a writer In the middle of the book he joins a crowd around the body of a drowned man who has been fished from the sea He goes on to imagine the conversation of the other bystanders And of course since he who writes is shaping a destiny for himself they little by little become one with those who drowned the chap This leads to a string of other disconnected stories about people we never see Later still he receives a letter from his mother begging him to come back home; she too has made up a narrative about her son in order to contain and control him or come to grips with his defection We all live by stories but stories can also unmake and destroy us Fragments of novels newspapers poems and printed signs litter the novel like debris In one chapter Adam goes from café to café searching for Michèle only to end up in lists of places from a gazetteer or names from a book indexIt was among them that he should have hunted Then he'd have found everything including Michèle seated at dawn in a deck chair cold and wet with dew shivering amid these interwoven forcesIn the end Adam's tendency to see every tiny piece of his environment as a part of the entire universe—and also as part of the totality of history past present and future—reduces him as an individual to nothing He begins to harangue bystanders on the promenade and is arrested and hospitalized There he is interviewed by a group of medical students the Interrogation of the title but they can do little to penetrate his isolation and completeness He is alone He is content


  10. says:

    So this was apparently the thing that turned the French literary establishment onto a young Le Clezio Which to a certain degree makes sense it's the sort of thing the French literary establishment likes which is to say its form is uasi experimental even if its content is dully predictable it takes an ironic attitude but you're not sure what this ironic attitude is toward and if you have to ask you're clearly not worthy of it and things happen with the same stochasticity that Godard employed in Pierrot le FouUrgh I uite liked Le Clezio's Desert But it's shit like this that makes me resent the '60s generation even The wacky sensibilities of the time have aged horribly and they've stoked the fires of late stage capitalism ever since


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Le Procès verbal

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From the original Atheneum edition jacket 1964 JMG Le Clézio revelation of the literary year ran the headline of the Paris Express after last year's prizes had been awarded The Goncourt jury was locked five to five until its president used his double vote to give the prize to the older candidate Ten minutes later the Renaudot jury elected the candidate they thought they might lose to the other prize Most of the literary sections ran their prize news putting the Renaudot first in order t JMG Le Clezio's The Interrogation begins like a French be

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His own species and so the story ends This is the next phase after the 'the new novel' wrote the critics Kafka they said; a direct descendant of Joyce they said Beckett they said Like nothing else they said One hundred thousand Frenchmen bought it They said it was strange and beautiful Finally the real voice of the young said the critics I like J D Salinger said Mr Le Clézio and that was all he said His remarkable first book will soon be published all over the world and much will be sa Visionary MadnessJ M G Le Clézio who won the Nobel Prize MARTINIQUE. : Produits du terroir et recettes traditionnelles real voice of the young said the critics I like J D Salinger said Mr Le Clézio and that was all he said His Rêve de Guyane remarkable first book will soon be published all over the world and much will be sa Visionary MadnessJ M G Le Clézio who won the Nobel Prize

J.M.G. Le Clézio ´ 3 summary

O feature the twenty three year old discovery that was rocking Paris literary circles What is The Interrogation? Most likely a myth without distinct delineations A very solitary young man Adam Pollo perhaps the first man perhaps the last has a very remarkable interior adventure He concentrates and he discovers ways of being ways of seeing He enters into animals into a tree He has no business no distractions; he is at the complete disposal of life All of life that is except the society of The Nobel for Le Clezio makes me think that the Swedish A