Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Terra Amata” as Want to Read:
Terra Amata
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Terra Amata

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
For Chancelade, the world is teeming with beauty, wonder and possibilities. From a small boy playing on the beach, through his adolescence and his first love, to the death of his father and on to the end of his own life, he relishes the most minute details of his physical surroundings - whether a grain of sand, an insect or a blade of grass - as he journeys on a sensory ad ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published November 27th 2008 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1967)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Terra Amata, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Terra Amata

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
MJ Nicholls
Terra Amata is either a visionary masterpiece or cheap apocalyptic schlock—either way, the end product is a strange and wonderful mixture of Michael Bay and French existentialism. Chancelade is a perpetual boy traversing the stunningly evocative language of this novel. His surroundings shapeshift from sentence to sentence, allowing him occasional moments of beachside lucidity or ludic Oulipian antics, but mostly, he’s like a cyberpunk Scheherazade, caught in immense thickets of doom-laden prose, ...more
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter

Sur la terre au hasard
je suis né
homme vivant
j’ai grandi
enfermé dans le dessin
les jours sont passés
les nuits sont passées
j’ai joué à tous ces jeux
j’ai parlé tous ces langages
en gesticulant
en disant des mots incompréhensibles
ou bien en posant des questions indiscrètes
j’ai peuplé la terre
pour vaincre le silence
pour dire toute la vérité
j’ai vécu dans l’immensité de la conscience
j’ai fui
puis j’ai vieilli
je suis mort
et enterré.

Once upon a time there was a boy called Chancelade: J. M. G. L
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: shiny, happy people
Shelves: read-2009, nobel
This was my second Le Clézio book. Terra Amata, the Beloved Earth, is daunting. I would not recommend this as a starting point to reading Le Clézio's works. It deeply troubled me, depressed me, made me close my eyes for a while and try not to think.

The beginning had an interesting scene when the young protagonist, Chancelade, plays with a bunch of potato bugs. It was a riveting scene that ended in tragedy.

The book follows Chancelade throughout his entire life as the headings of the chapters may
Rima Singh
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Le clezio is close to being my second favourite author ,first being Dostoyevsky!
The author leads us through the life of Chancelade from his luminous childhood till the end (or the beginning), telling us that the protagonist is going back to what was before, sun, clear air, peace, sea, strength, beauty; because everything is eternal, we are here all the time with the sun and the rain and the wind and the ice and the fire. Birth and death are only fables. In this timespan called life we are only playing the game with ourselves to lose as slowly as possible, suffering as li ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france
The architect Le Corbusier reportedly said that God was in the details; others have claimed the same about the devil. And it's in the details that Le Clézio finds Terra Amata ("the beloved Earth", if my Latin serves); whether what he finds is God or Devil...

This is the first Le Clézio I've read, and supposedly not the best starting point - most people who have read him suggest his debut Le Procès-Verbal (The Interrogation) as a sampler of his early avant-garde work, but this was the one that was
Kris Kipling
Based on two books (this, and The Book of Flights) I'm convinced that young, experimental Le Clezio was a worthy writer. After the initial "J. M. G-who?" in the American press - the reaction that accompanies every new Nobel Prize in Literature - a lot of these literary hacks went out and bought some of the newly reprinted Le Clezio novels (originally published in the 1960s and pretty much out-of-print since then) then proceeded to dismiss them all as "dated" (a favorite dismissal from the oh-so- ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
When Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio was named laureate for the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, I was like many others in wondering who? His standing in English speaking nations, save for a couple of low profile translations in the States, was practically non-existant. And this is an author who has published over forty books since his 1963 debut. It’s been a frustrating wait, then, for publishers in the UK to rush release some backlist titles into print. No doubt translators up and down the country ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the most visceral reading experiences of my life. This is a vivid account of the highs and lows of one man's life, but presented in such a way that he represents Modern Man and the unique psychological/spiritual experience of humans.

This is one of my favorite books, which is why I gave it five stars despite several experimental sections that don't really work that well. This book is an exciting glimpse at how personal and true and life-changing experimental literature can potentially be,
Steven Felicelli
Jul 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
somebody explain to me why I'm supposed to take this guy seriously
Dec 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confusingly enough, many people seem to think that this novel is not Terra Amata, but rather another of Le Clezio's novels set in Mauritius?

The novel I read was about a man Chancelade, and his (rather pointless) journey from life to death. And although it was not explicitly set anywhere, it seemed to be in France (by the sea).
The best thing about this novel, as with, The Flood, is it's absolutely gorgeous language, le Clezio manages to make incredibly mundane events and ideas seem incredibly ric
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nobel-laureates
I picked this book accidentally and I couldn’t help marvelling at the simplicity and honesty the introduction has. Captivated I began. There is no story as such (for it can be the story of any random person). It rather felt like dairy entries.

Reading this was as good as a roller coaster ride-there were times when I found it enchanting and at times it became unbearable that I wanted to shut it permanently. Reflections on the journey we make as men on this earth is what this book dwells on (I am
May 09, 2009 rated it liked it
"Too bright and pure to be anything but darkness"

should be better than it is, there is a dragging inconsitency to its marvels. jean-marie gustave le clezio has a wonderful name and he is gifted at discerning and evoking sadness, the weariness of thought, the irrational communion of childhood and night-terror - i especially loved the sections 'Happy' + 'And The Nights'. then his habit of listing repetitiously and using ciphers as characters tired & drove the enjoyment out of me. I particularl
the gift
this is kind of the object case that robbe-grillet has in mind when he insists it is not what the true author says but how he says it. no, not much happens in this life portrayed, but the resolution of these sensuous, imagistic, vignettes of life is very affecting for me. how the story is told is what the story is told...
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is lucky t--oh fuck me
I enjoyed Terra Amata so much such that if my French were better I may endanger upon a terrific pun such as, «Je suis heureux que j'ai eu de la chance de lire à propos de Chancelade»; alas I do not so I settled for slyly dispensing a feeble one. Sorry.
Michael Pennington
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It took me 6 years to read this and catch up on my French Nobel Prize winners. What an incredible book. A labyrinth of beautiful writing...
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Brilliant in parts, eminently skimmable at other parts.
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
the poetry which is life..

Dear Clezio
you taught such a to live every minute,every second
thank you gracias bonjour
Bibhash jha
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Its amazingly original and an entirely different literary ride .
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Three and a half really. Exhilarating and beautiful in parts, however some of the language play is by and large unreadable.
rated it liked it
Nov 19, 2013
rated it it was ok
May 17, 2017
Minerva Taylor
rated it did not like it
Dec 20, 2014
Christopher Warrilow
rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2014
rated it liked it
Mar 13, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2014
Jamie Brown
rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2014
Pauline Oléum
rated it it was ok
Dec 31, 2014
rated it it was ok
Sep 05, 2010
Masanaka Takashima
rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: missing publisher 2 10 Feb 05, 2017 08:05AM  
  • Monsieur
  • Hôtel Splendid (European Women Writers)
  • Zone
  • Djinn
  • Death Sentences
  • The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise
  • When I Am Playing with My Cat, How Do I Know That She Is Not Playing with Me?: Montaigne and Being in Touch with Life
  • Voice Over
  • The Creative Mind
  • The Great Fire of London: A Story with Interpolations and Bifurcations
  • Journey to the Alcarria: Travels Through the Spanish Countryside
  • Cleaned Out
  • Liquidation
  • The Little Book Of Philosophy
  • The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other Stories
  • Basic Writings
  • The Trolley
  • Of Africa
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, better known as J.M.G. Le Clézio (born 13 April 1940) is a Franco-Mauritian novelist. The author of over forty works, he was awarded the 1963 Prix Renaudot for his novel Le Procès-Verbal (The Interrogation) and the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature.
More about Jean-Marie G. Le Clézio...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »