Sunday, May 3, 2015

New book: Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation

This one will be available (in English translation) on June 2, the day before the Fourest book. I’m so excited, I’ve put the releases in my datebook. From the publisher:
He was the brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name — Musa — and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.

In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.

The Stranger is of course central to Daoud’s story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice.
From a recent interview with Daoud in the New Yorker:
In response to the novel—or perhaps to your journalism—an imam with a group called the Islamist Awakening Front issued a fatwa against you. Is it a threat you take seriously? Do you believe that the novel is or could be offensive to Muslims?

Offensive to Muslims? No. Offensive to Islamists? Yes. They are offended by our life, by difference, by women, by desire, by laughter. They are lovers of death, not of life. The threat is serious, but it is serious for everyone: you, me, the tourist, the cartoonist, the dancer, the woman, the Nigerian schoolgirl. The threat was addressed at me, but more importantly at all of us….

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