Le Procès-Verbal

Le Procès-Verbal (English title: The Interrogation) is the debut novel of French Nobel laureate writer J. M. G. Le Clézio, about a troubled man named Adam Pollo who "struggles to contextualize what he sees" and "to negotiate often disturbing ideas while simultaneously navigating through, for him, life’s absurdity and emptiness".[1]

The Interrogation
First UK edition
AuthorJ. M. G. Le Clézio
Original titleLe Procès-Verbal
TranslatorDaphne Woodward
Cover artistJonathan Nicholl
Hamish Hamilton (UK)
Atheneum (US)
Publication date
Published in English
Followed byLe Jour où Beaumont fit connaissance avec sa douleur 


The novel is about Adam Pollo, a loner man who had been marginalized from society. His long hair and his beard make him appear a beggar. Pollo is a former student who suffers from amnesia. He does not know whether he was perhaps a deserter from the army or if he has escaped from a psychiatric ward. Le Clézio wrote:

[He] was trying to remember something pertaining to what happened ten years ago: maybe a phrase, maybe a tell-tale sign from the army, maybe a name or a place which would indicate just when it occurred and waiting, waiting (thinking, thinking) to come up with where it might have happened.[2]

He breaks into an empty seaside villa. He visits the town at rare intervals and as briefly as his scant purchases (of cigarettes, biscuits, or even beer) require. Soon, lack of human contact affects him like a drug and he experiences other modes of being: through a dog's or rat’s eyes, states of heightened consciousness which build up into a terrifying world of glaring hallucinatory experience. Then Adam addresses a small crowd in the town. His unnerving rhetoric ends in his arrest and commitment to an asylum. And there the interrogation begins.


  • Written when Le Clézio was 23, this novel was shortlisted for the prix Goncourt.
  • Received the prix Renaudot in 1963.
  • Unsuccessful in the Prix Formentor.[3]

Publication historyEdit

Seven editions published between 1988 and 2004 in 4 languages and held by 766 libraries worldwide.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Interrogation by J. M. G. Le Clézio, translated by Daphne Woodward". John Madera fiction. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-02-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Jean-Marie-Gabriel LE CLÉZIO (France)"Le procès-verbal "" (in French). comptoirlitteraire. 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-25. il «essayait de se souvenir de quelque chose qui le rattachait aux dix années d’avant : une phrase, un tic militaire, un nom de lieu qui lui indiquerait à coup sûr quel avait été son emploi du temps, et, enfin, enfin, plus tard, d’où il arrivait CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Sturrock, John (January 9, 1964). "Le Proces-Verbal". The Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 2008-11-04. Both ...novels, one by Mario Vargas Llosa... the other by a young Anglo-Frenchman, were concerned in the final stages of the judging for the Prix Formentor last May, La Ciudad y los Perros (The Time of the Hero) narrowly failing to win the prize CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Most widely held works by J.-M. G Le Clézio". OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)