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Book Tips - Claude Simon

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1985 was awarded to Claude Simon "who in his novel combines the poet's and the painter's creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition".

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The Georgics (Les Géorgiques)

For the literary power, the delicious poetical vigor, with which Claude Simon shapes his inexorably disrupting images of life, of shattered human beings in an existence of memories.
/Allan, Sweden

Story (Histoire)

In fact, I love all Simon's novels. But this novel is the first one that I read and thus opened the door to an unbelievably and wonderfully sublime universe of Claude Simon with his elegant prose and his unimitable reconstruction of memories. Moreover, Simon never crams his novels with heavy philosophical reflexions. Everything he describes is sensible and so sensuous. Many find that his novels are difficult, but I just let myself absorbed into the flow of his prose and I forget everything and since then I cannot stop reading his books again and again. As for Hisoire, the scene where one of the characters learns the truth about his family near the end of the novel is, for me, one of the most subtle scenes I have ever read in any books.
/Thoranin Mepian, Thailand

The Acacia (L'Acacia)

Intentionally "difficult" - sentences that go on for pages, parentheses within parentheses within parentheses, chapters that dart from era to era (mostly the first and second world wars, the man who was killed in the first and the son who survived the second) - but a real tour de force, filled with vivid scenes. One you admire rather than love, but it leaves an impression.
/Karl, Thailand

The Flanders Road (La Route des Flandres)

Une langue novatrice et toute puissante. (An innovative and very powerful language. - Ed. transl.)
/Fondeur, France

The Invitation (L'invitation)

Three words I would use to briefly describe my short experience living under communism: gray, applause, and marble. The latter one refers to the typical megalomaniac opulence that dictators were so crazy about, that stunned me whenever I was going in such a building and made me think, as a child, of our president as of a king. Then I hear that endless applause, regardless of what was being said, what people just saw or witnessed: applause was necessary to show consent to everything. Gray was the color of everything around me: the concrete city; people's clothes or even faces; books; architecture; bleakness. Everything was doomed by gray and whenever I saw colors back then I knew it must be someone privileged with clothes from abroad, with imported magazines from who-knows-who, someone who was lucky enough to be able to touch other tinges. All these three words appear in this book that is Simon's experience of visiting the USSR after the new reforms (glasnost and perestroika) at the end of the '80s. He witnesses applause that are meaningless, but forced and automatic. He is flabbergasted at the marble palace he is invited in, while seeing the poverty around, the gray-ness that dominates the whole landscape and people's faces who must simulate a smile and show happiness.
/Raluca Batanoiu, Germany

The Wind (Le vent)

I was impressed by the unusual and eloquent style of this beautiful and poetic book.
/Željko, Croatia
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