'This isn't just any cookery book. It is "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", first published in 1961, and it's a book that is a statement, not of culinary intent, but of aspiration, a commitment to a certain sort of good life, a certain sort of world-view; a votive object implying taste and appetite and a little je ne sais quoi. Julia Child was like Amelia Earhart, or Eleanor Roosevelt: she was a hero who'd gone out there and made a difference. Her books are a triumph, and also a trophy' - A.A. Gill, "The Times".
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
French novelist Jean-Marie Gustav Le Clezio has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2008. In their formal announcement, the Swedish Academy honoured him as an 'author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy and an explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilisation'. "Wandering Star" tells the stories of two young girls, one Jewish and one Palestinian, who meet once briefly by chance. Their stories are connected by substance, rather than plot. Each is a wandering star in search of a homeland, Esther escaping the Nazi Holocaust, and Nejma, a Palestinian refugee. Yet through this novel of dark times and human suffering, affirmation shines as the characters encounter the beauty of nature and instances of human kindness and love. Originally published in 2004, "Wandering Star" is his most recent novel to be translated into English, and perhaps his most traditional in terms of its storytelling narrative. It is also currently his only novel available in English. J.M.G. Le Clezio is that rare combination of best-selling author and artist of the highest order. "Wandering Star" received extraordinary critical praise in France. Pierre Lepape noted in "Le Monde" that Le Clezio neither moralizes nor takes a political stance: 'He goes much farther than that, much deeper; he seeks the signs of human misery and of potential peace at the very heart of life, in a confrontation with time and the elements; with the sun and the earth, with birth and death, with the mystery of origins and the enigma of the future, with the necessity of both remembering and forgetting, without which nothing can be healed'.