Introduction Several books about Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio’s work include the word “quest” in their titles. In part, these titles recognize that his work is ongoing. Writing is essential to his life, and his work has al- ways posed questions that he does not fully answer. Le Clézio’s Spiri- tual Quest differs from other critical studies in that it focuses specifically on the religious and philosophical citations in his work in order to set forth an account of what can be construed as a sustained effort to develop a coherent set of spiritual and ethical views that draws on the traditions of many cultures, including traditions that are not often consulted by contemporary thinkers. While it is always risky to impute views to a writer of fiction, if no attempt is made to ascertain a writer’s ruling framework of ideas, readers can miss a great deal of interest and value. If this book meets its objective, it will help readers by offering a road map to Le Clézio’s concerns and his provisional conclusions about faith, reality, and ethics. Le Clézio is a post-Christian writer partly in the sense that like many Europeans, he no longer thinks of Christianity as an important living religion or makes use of its symbols. He is post-Christian also in a deeper sense, because he makes almost no reference to that faith at all. His examination of his father’s life, L’Africain, describes how he and his brother were required to say prayers...
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