“Escales” by Mouloud Mammeri

This article is also available in: Italiano

“Escales” by Mouloud Mammeri is the only work translated into Italian by one of the most extraordinary Algerian writers of all time, able to tell us about themes such as desert, love, poverty and revolution in a prose that resembles poetry

“Escales” by Mouloud Mammeri

The volume collects six stories by the Algerian writer Mouloud Mammeri, an author of great narrative force who had never been translated into Italian. His stories show us scenes from everyday life: some encounters, suspended between reality and fantasy, with ordinary characters who transform and acquire a new depth. Oscillating between realism and the mythical transfiguration of life, they outline the picture of a simple and bitter world, in a lyrical and authentic style.

The most beautiful text I’ve ever read on the desert

“Escales” by Mouloud Mammeri is the only text translated into Italian by this extraordinary writer, something absolutely magical and essential to get to know one of the greatest and most amazing literary figures in Algerian and Amazigh history. Mouloud Mammeri was in fact one of the Algerian intellectuals who was most interested in his wonderful people, carrying out real research of the highest level on the Amazigh in general and on the Kabyls in general, an element that is clearly noticeable in this work by him.

"Escales" by Mouloud Mammeri

Despite having read Tuareg authors such as Ibrahim al Koni, in fact, the story “Atavic Teneré” has in fact managed to amaze me for the beauty and depth with which Mammeri treats the desert, nomadism and the Tuareg world, going to compose something that, despite being in prose, resembles much more to poetry. In this story, which to my taste alone is worth the price of the book, the great Algerian tells the story of the desert and its inhabitants, managing in just a few words to tell the absolute and sometimes mystical beauty breathed in this area. The result is a text of absolute power capable of both enchanting and conveying profound reflections on the soul of nomads and that of settled peoples, something that cannot fail to strike in the hearts and leave an indelible mark on those of those who love the Absolute.

Between poetry and story

In my taste, the most beautiful story is the one I mentioned before, but all are characterized by a sort of magical realism capable of combining poetry, thoughts and prose in a melodious and at the same time elusive way, recalling, implicitly or explicitly, the mirages of the desert, figures between reality and fantasy. Even when he talks about Algerian history, which he experienced firsthand, he never does so using great characters or situations, but ordinary figures who, in a simple and unexpected conversation, are able to give voice to the greatest thoughts and reflections of the human spirit.

"Escales" by Mouloud Mammeri
Mouloud Mammeri

In “Escales” we talk about the desert and Algeria, of course, but also about poverty, faith, love and revolution and everything is done with a delicacy, poetry and elegance that is all too rare nowadays. Honestly reading this book I asked myself over and over again why only this text of Mammeri has been translated, it has nothing to envy to extraordinary figures such as Yacine Kateb, Shams Nadir or the aforementioned Ibrahim al Koni; very beautiful.

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