Yasmina Khadra's images of corruption
Today my wife, my poor beast of burden, has regressed -- she holds no more attraction than a trailer lying across the road, but at least she's there when I am afraid of the dark.
What saves Khadra from censure for such remarks? For one thing, perhaps, Khadra himself was thought for years to be a woman. "Yasmina Khadra" is a nom de plume borrowed from two of his wife's names. Khadra's real name is Mohammed Moulessehoul; he took the alias when the Algerian army, in which he was an officer, demanded that he submit his work to military censors. (He revealed his identity only in 2001, after he had fled to France; Morituri was published in 1997.)
For another, that passage is full of pathetic, desperate tenderness. For yet another, the remark is in no way gratuitous. Disgust with the flesh is only part of the larger atmosphere of disenchantment that pervades Llob's world. The terror, the fear, the disillusionment, the political and moral corruption are so pervasive that they invade the most intimate aspects of the characters' lives. Poor Brahim Llob is alienated from even the most basic desires.
So, what saves the Llob stories from being total downers? The narrator/protagonist's grim sense of humor even among the direst circumstances. Here's Llob with Sid Lankabout ("Sid Spider"), one of the cast of vicious, slimy opportunists who populate the Llob books:
It seems (says Lankabout) that you are in the process of giving birth to a third tome.The defining rivalry of Llob's Algiers is that between corrupt, murderous Islamic fundamentalists and corrupt, monumentally rotten and venal government. Llob's disgust with the hypocrisy of both sides (and with the megalomania of the third side that reveals itself toward the ends of Morituri and of the second in the series, Double Blank) is characteristic of his appalling world. It also makes him an appealing crime-fiction protagonist.
This time (replies Llob) I'm writing about anti-matter.
Interesting. I didn't know you were an alchemist. Does anti-matter really exist?
Fundamentalism is its most active manifestation.
© Peter Rozovsky 2006