Wandering Star (novel)

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Wandering Star
Etoile errante.jpg
Cover art of 1994 French edition.
Author J. M. G. Le Clézio
Original title Étoile errante
Translator C. Dickson
Country France
Language French translated into English
Genre Novel
Publisher Gallimard
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print
Pages 339 pp
ISBN 978-2-07-072650-9
OCLC 26148691

Wandering Star (original title: Étoile errante) is a novel by French Nobel laureate writer J. M. G. Le Clézio. The novel tells the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath of World War II. Esther, a French Jew who flees for Jerusalem with her mother just after Italy's occupation of a small section of south-east France ended during World War II; and Nejma, a young Arab orphaned and unable to return to the ancient city of her birth, Akka, after the Israeli declaration of statehood. Esther emigrates to the newborn state of Israel, where she encounters another group of refugees, this time Palestinian.

Plot summary[edit]

In the year 1944 in a mountainous area on the French-Italian border Esther and her mother and all the Jews in the village of Saint-Martin must cross from France to Italy to avoid the SS.[1] After the war, she and her mother, Elizabeth, begin their long journey to France, to the sailing ship Sette Fratelli[2] which will take them to Palestine. When Esther finally arrives in Jerusalem, she briefly meets and exchanges names with Nejma, a Palestinian, another wanderer, one who ends up, in the summer of 1948, in the Nour Chams Refugee Camp.

Political elements[edit]

According to one reviewer [3] Wandering Star could have been an affecting novel if Le Clézio had written solely of the Palestinian or Jewish refugees. The reviewer commented further that by "taking no sides" and by "showing the agony of all" Le Clézio had produced "a near masterpiece". In the French newspaper Le Monde Pierre Lepape put forward that Le Clézio "goes much farther than that, much deeper;" in that Le Clézio's writing looks at the pivotal points of life itself for signs of trouble as much his writing looks for hope of peace (even confrontating both time and the elements). Le Clézio's writing seeks by way of the sun and by way of the earth (being born and the process of death), prodding into the mystery of the origin of everything (despite not knowing the future) towards a need to forget as well as a need to remember (without these needs nothing is repairable)[4]


  1. ^ "Wandering Star (J. M. G. Le Clézio) The Diaspora". Ignacio Schwartz. –. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  2. ^ Sette Fratelli means "Seven Brothers"
  3. ^ "Review". Ignacio Schwartz. ralphmag.org. Retrieved 24 December 2008. 
  4. ^ Lepape, Pierre (May 1992). "Le livre des fugitifs". LE MONDE DES LIVRES (in French). Retrieved 2009-02-24. Il va beaucoup plus loin, beaucoup plus profond ; il cherche les signes du malheur et ceux de la paix au coeur même de la vie, dans l'affrontement avec le temps et avec les éléments ; avec le soleil et avec la terre, avec la naissance et avec la mort, avec l'énigme des origines et l'énigme de l'avenir, avec la mémoire indispensable et l'oubli sans lequel rien ne se répare  "From the Publisher Wandering Star". barnes and noble (B&N Services). 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-12-24. Pierre Lepape (08.05.92)extolled Étoile errante, noting that Le Clezio neither moralizes nor takes a political stance