Saturday, May 09, 2009

Finally finished Jean Marie Le Clézio's Onitsha

And I don't have much positive to say. For the first hundred pages I was in great admiration of the prose, but then he switches prose style when he gets to Geoffrey Allen's ruminations on scarification and mother Africa, and it got too weird and frankly boring. I forced myself to continue reading- it's a Nobel Prize winning author, after all. But maybe it was not his best effort- I've read a number of his shorter pieces and they are much more interesting. Indian blogger braindrain has a nice piece after reading a pirated English translation, but comes to an opposite conclusion....
A beautifully written book, about the intolerance and brutality of colonial powers and the destruction of native culture and exploitation of their resources. The prose is very clear and straight forward , and look at the events at difference perspective of the child, mother and the father. After a somewhat dragging initial pages of their voyage to Onitsha, the novel is a superb read.

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