Abdellah Taïa, on behalf of the mother – Jeune Afrique

“Everything is true,” says Abdellah Taïa. In the guise of Malika, with Vivre à ta lumière, released on March 4, the author pays a moving tribute to his mother M’barka Allali. Ten years after the death of the latter, he signed his most necessary work there: the “novel of the origin of the origin.”

A central figure in Vivre à ta lumière, Malika, however, is not depicted as an omnipotent character. On the contrary, it is his shortcomings that legitimize her constant force of conviction and his faith in the future. The story reveals a woman of working-class origin who tries to separate herself from destiny. Using both malice and sorcery, she always tries to offer her children more. More than what life promises them. More than they think they deserve.

Through words, he offers himself the liberating power of reciprocal forgiveness.

In a certain way, this novel is, for Abdellah Taïa, the consecration of the original fantasy. “It is the return to the mother, to the mother’s body,” he confesses. However, through the character, from Ahmed to Jaâfar, we discover mother-son relationships tinged with resentment and misunderstanding. “These things have always been there and they come back through the writing,” he says. By confronting his mother’s past, the author explores the limits of this bond. Finally, through his words, he offers himself the liberating force of reciprocal forgiveness.

Return to post-colonial Morocco

Abdellah Taïa does not understand how he can be blamed for the frequent references to spirituality, superstition and history in his texts. “These are elements that we have integrated, as Moroccans. It is even from this that we build ourselves. From this thematic continuity, his latest novel is no exception. His characters also maintain an almost passionate relationship with the supernatural. Through it can come both rise and fall.

In the background, the work returns to the most significant political episodes of post-colonial Morocco. “It is something that impacted me and that I wanted to talk about. But I didn’t want to talk about it in a complex way,” he explains. Thus, Mehdi Ben Barka subtly appears to the protagonists, instilling in them the hope of a Morocco where inequalities disappear.

break with orientalism

The other common thread of Ariadne in the author’s bibliography is homosexuality. Hers, first, which she projects onto her characters. So that, latent, silent, in Moroccan society. Naturally, Vivre à ta lumière also highlights homosexual relationships, rooted in violent power struggles, but also at the heart of stories of sincere love.

I do not understand that these descriptions of Morocco continue to be authoritative in the collective imagination

This Morocco, Abdellah Taïa criticizes Western intellectuals for having censored him. “They came to Morocco, sometimes they lived there. But they never talked about the anti-colonial struggles or the struggles of the LGBT community at the time”, he laments, alluding to the authors of the “Beat Generation” and Paul Bowles in particular.

Le titre de son roman fait écho à la lumière dans les œuvres d’Eugène Delacroix, mais c’est surtout pour lui une « critique de ces Occidentaux qui parlent souvent de la lumière du Maroc » et une volonté de « rupture avec cette vision orientaliste of Morocco “. “They speak of the simplicity with which Moroccans live, with poorly concealed contempt,” he says. I do not understand that these descriptions of Morocco continue to be authoritative in the collective imagination. »


Live in your light, by Abdellah Taïa, Seuil, 208 pages, 18 euros

  • Add Your Comment