Author: Mohammed Khaïr-Eddíne
Translators: Píerre Jorís and Jake Syersak
Publisher: Diálogos Books (2020)
Agadir is loosely based on the earthquake which devastated the Moroccan city of the same name in 1960, and Khaïr-Eddine's experience as a civil servant assigned to investigate the aftermath of the cataclysm between 1961 and 1963. An unnamed narrator sent to the city "in order to sort out a particularly precarious situation" tells the story of a veritably razed Moroccan epicenter and a citizenry begging for reconstruction and reimagination. In a surreal, polyphonic narration that explodes into various tesserae of fiction, autobiography, reportage, poetry, and theatre, the narrator quickly discovers that in exhuming the city's physical remnants he cannot help but exhume the complex social, political, cultural, and historical dynamics that make up postcolonial Moroccan society. The mysterious narrator, increasingly besieged by hallucinations of the past and visions of the future, comes to incarnate what Albert Memmi once called "the role of the colonized," and to suffer "a magnified vision of all the ambiguities and impossibilities of those colonized." To which Khaïr-Eddine appends his envisioned role of the writer: one who uses his magnified vision to transform his very life into "an investigation, a fight against all forms of oppression and repression" until his "literature is a beautiful weapon."