An influential French writer, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1985. His best-known works include La Route des Flandres (1960) and Histoire (1967).
He fought with the French Resistance during World War II. He published his first work, Le Tricheur (The Cheat), in 1945.
His literary works typically contain themes of war, family history, and the passage of time.
He was born to French parents in Madagascar. He married his second wife, Rhea Karavas, in 1978, after divorcing his first wife, Yvonne Ducing.
He became a Nobel laureate in 1985, one year before Wole Soyinka received the same honor.