I, Caustic (Paperback)
With its undulating body, I, CAUSTIC reproduces the twopronged movement that testifies to the continuing relevance of Kha r-Eddine's writing: destruction and reconstruction, annihilation and regeneration, death and revival.--Khalid Lyamlahy (from the Postface)
Kha r-Eddine's corroded lyric I spews the detritus of autocratic narcissism in this absurdist takedown of its patriarchs: the king and his advisors, military and police officers, husbands, fathers, older brothers. In the wake of the Moroccan student and worker uprising of March 23, 1965, which emboldened both government repression and popular movements for democracy, the characters ponder the irony of revolution when everyone has coopted its rhetoric and wonder whether the socalled dregs of society--sexworkers, abandoned children, unemployed laborers--can rise up to prevent a nuclear Arab apocalypse. Yet from the King's privy in Rabat to a coastal town in southern Morocco, humanity's inhumanity is just one force of nature among so many others: what's the point of all this trouble when you'll end up a maggot-eaten corpse? Syersak's energizing translation delivers into English all the poet's acerbic humor and idiomatic exuberance. You'll laugh so hard your inner hyena will come out. Is your blood boiling yet?--Teresa VillaIgnacio
Kha r-Eddine's excoriating satire of independent Morocco, written in the first decade of Hassan II's rule, from the remove of voluntary exile in France, performs a devastating critique of the violence of the ruling class, the incompetence of government, the hypocrisy of organized religion, and the stubborn presence of police brutality, even as it fashions radically new modes of literary and poetic expression. Sometimes crude, even grotesque, often brilliantly seductive, irreligious, and funny, Jake Syersak's bold translation into English breathes new life into this important and toolong neglected work of modern Moroccan literature.--Thomas C. Connolly, Department of French, Yale University
Poetry. Hybrid. Middle Eastern Studies.