Home Celebrity “If your ancestors were slaves, you are still considered a slave”

“If your ancestors were slaves, you are still considered a slave”

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It’s a book from the end of the world: “Les Noyées du Nil”, a Sudanese novel which has just been awarded a special mention at the Prize for Arabic Literature, is magnificent – ​​and unique. Hammour Ziada, the author, places the action of this dark tragedy in the village of Hadjar Narti, “two and a half days by bus” of Khartoum, where the memory of the Mahdi revolt still lingers. We are in 1969, while Sudan is the victim of a coup d’etat, we find the corpses of women, floating in the course of the water, in the Nile. It is the Middle Ages in the middle of the twentieth century: the bonds of slavery still exist, the relations of subordination too, and, under the surface, violent passions are consumed. Hell is not far away.

Hammour Ziada, forced into exile, now lives in Cairo. Author of four novels (including the wonderful “The Longing of the Dervish”, translated into English but not into French), he contemplates his country’s past with acuity, and depicts the cataclysmic shock of modernity. In “Les Noyées du Nil”, tradition and the century clash, in a city of dust, wind, ancient sins, where the river, King Nile, is all-powerful. Not only is the book moving, but the force of the narration carries everything, like the current that shears the river. While in Paris – no, in Montparnasse – the author evoked his passion, writing, and the lethal effects of intolerance. FF

It is time to translate Hammour Ziada, this excellent writer

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