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The Interrogation: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

J. M. G. Le Clezio
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.73
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

From the original Atheneum edition jacket, 1964.

"J.M.G. 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 to 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 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 more will be said.

Editorial Reviews


"Le Clézio's verbal felicity is amazing.... we come away awed by his skill in manipulating language and dazzled by his ability to create with words vividly impressionistic paintings." -- Page Stegner, The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

J.M.G. Le Cl - zio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in Nice in 1940 and is one of France's best-known contemporary writers. He has written more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, including works for children. His works are translated into 36 languages around the world. He currently divides his time between Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mauritius, and his house on the sea in Brittany, France.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2136 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NLL31K
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,643 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visionary Madness March 22, 2010
J. 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 more 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 smile.

The principal character, Adam Pollo, is an educated man of about 30 whom we see squatting 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 extraordinary.

A friend remarked that the isolated young man in the seaside town may be a reflection of the title character in Camus'
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual mind December 14, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Earth is blue like an orange": the words of a clever poet or of a madman disconnected from reality? J.M.G. Le Clezio explores the legendarily thin line separating the mentally astute from the mentally ill in The Interrogation.

Adam Pollo isn't sure whether he has recently been discharged from a mental institution or from the army. He lives in an abandoned house at the top of a hill, spends his days in a deck-chair by an open window, waiting "without moving, proud of being almost dehumanized," in a state he describes as meditative, watching the shadows of insects and "reconstructing a world of childish terrors." Adam is isolated, but claims he doesn't want to be alone: he wants to "exist with the coefficient 2, or 3, or 4, instead of that infernal coefficient 1." He thinks about and sometimes tries to write to Michele, the woman he met on the beach. Sometimes he follows a dog through the streets. Toward the end of the novel Adam makes a rambling speech to a gathering crowd and later finds himself in an asylum where he's interrogated by students under the disdainful supervision of a psychiatrist.

Although the psychiatrist is quick to attach diagnostic labels to Adam's mental illnesses, the reader is less certain, in part because Adam is so adept at verbal jousting with the students. Adam is disturbed and troubled, but those are traits shared by many who avoid institutionalization. It's clear that Adam doesn't function well in society, equally clear that he doesn't much want to -- his isolation is self-imposed, as evidenced by a letter from his mother -- but in his self-absorbed world, Adam's mind flourishes. Adam finds meaning in random forms of light and shadow, the product of a different way of seeing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Parmenides was the clue May 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In French, the title " procès-verbal" is more accurate and more broadly evocative than 'Interrogation.' A 'procès-verbal' may refer the minutes of a meeting, such as the meeting some psychiatry students hold to question 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 is.

On the surface, this is the story of a mentally disturbed young man who gradually slips from life squatting in a house in a southern French resort town where he is involved in something resembling a relationship with a girl, through progressively more 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 more sympathetic and engaging until at the end he is an eloquent spokesman for a view of reality.

The 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.
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