Chapter 4: Mystic Children 55
Chapter 4: Mystic Children Unlike many novelists, Le Clézio often offers few clues about the places and times when his stories occur. Sections of Désert and La quarantine are dated precisely; Le livre des fuites and Poisson d’or are not; nor are most of the short stories in collections such as La ronde et autres faits divers and Mondo et autres histories. Some of the stories are simply timeless; it doesn’t matter where or when they may take place, because the underlying truths are not dependant on any time or place, and of course timelessness is an important concept for Le Clé- zio because of his fascination with Parmenides. In other cases, how- ever, his stories present puzzles. Small details emerge that may have historical importance; there are hints, and no more than hints, as to the places and times when events transpire, and those hints can lead to sudden changes in the meaning of everything that is related. Details are important for understanding both Lullaby and Peuple du ciel. These stories offer a less intense picture of the kind of mysti- cism that features in many of Le Clézio’s works, because the two sto- ries make less use of the Parmenidean idea that everything is actually one. Instead, the mystical union with nature is portrayed as an expe- rience that sets some people apart and that gives them guidance for surviving in the larger world. Peuple du ciel, however, adds Meso- American apocalyptic religion in...
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