Short story author, poet and novelist, the Djiboutian Abdourahman Waberi has constructed an authentic physique of labor in a thirty-year literary profession that mixes prose and poetry, satire and the seek for utopias. In the second a part of the chronicle “Chemin d’crires”, devoted to this vital voice of African letters, a glance again on the writer’s literary trajectory, marked by ruptures, questions and renewal. (Replay)
The most stunning pages of Abdourahman Waberi’s newest novel, Why do you dance once you stroll? (Lattès, 2019), are these wherein the auto-fictional narrator recounts the numerous position that the academics at his college, then the French highschool, performed in his literary training by introducing him to studying and writing. These are known as within the story “Madame Annick” or “Madame Ellul”. “French Women”, immortalized by their former pupil, to whom they launched the Hugos, Dumas, Eugène Sue, Hector Malot, Alphonse Daudet and different nice classics of French literature.
The writer, who calls himself Aden on this fictional autobiography, by no means forgets to pay tribute to those smugglers who opened the doorways of his creativeness to him.
Writing fairy talesBut if his character is worried, his style for studying was born in his lecture rooms Djibouti native, it was when he arrived within the land of Hugo and Dumas that the younger Waberi started writing fairy tales in earnest. The journey started in 1985, when the younger Djiboutian landed in France to check on the University of Caen, the place he was presupposed to take a grasp’s diploma in English.
“When I arrived at my university studies in Basse-Normandie, I first wanted to become a journalist,” says Waberi. I believed that this manner I might each inform the world, clarify it and write at the identical time. Journalism was a excellent resolution. But I understand fairly shortly that journalists in a dictatorial nation aren’t one of the best! But since I had come to check literature, or extra exactly English, I believed the professorship suited me. Finally, the writing will likely be linked to the incontrovertible fact that it was a option to resolve my exile, as a result of I additionally started to understand that it was a bit tough to return to Djibouti and stay usually, particularly for those who had creative ambitions. The writing will likely be a form of crutch to say why I used to be on this world and why I got here to France and why I couldn’t return to my nation so simply. It truly gave me the chance to take inventory of myself. »
The writer fondly remembers his hesitant beginnings in writing. “The writing came in an almost personal way,” he says. He begins by writing poems, earlier than discovering the shape of writing that fits him, someplace between prose and poetry. A kind that made success with the Djiboutian author’s first texts: Le Pays sans ombre (Le Serpent à plumes, 1994) and nomadic pocket book (Le Serpent à plumes, 1996), two collections of quick tales, which will likely be adopted by Balbala (Le Serpent à plumes, 1998), a novel. This model has regularly change into the writer’s trademark.
Thematically, Abdourahman Waberi’s first books are additionally pushed by the nostalgic must carry the distant land to life by creativeness and reminiscence. The tone of his “Djibouti Trilogy” is ready from the primary ebook, Le pays sans ombre. Torn between the lyricism of locations and the ironic condemnation of energy, the ebook is devoted to “Nuruddin Farah and Tierno Monenembo, two writers who saw the land of their imagination die,” the duvet reads. These two novelists had deeply influenced the stammering author, particularly when he acknowledged himself of their scenario as exile and stateless, haunted by the reminiscence of their nation.
However, they have been not fashions, because the writer of Cahier nomad explains. “These are people who acted as a focal point for my reflection at that time about the country. As I wrote, they had seen their fantasyland, which was their main source of inspiration, die. The interesting thing is that they were both people who wrote about their country and mainly about their country, and who at the same time had left it and had a real dream relationship with this country.
A protean workToday, at the age of fifty, the author has several volumes of short stories, novels, collections of poems, essays, forums in newspapers. It is an inventive work with great diversity of themes and authorship.
In his fiction unlike any other in the African literary field, Abdourahman Waberi happily leads his readers from the theme of political subversion (Balbala) to the descent into the happiness and misfortune of his Djibouti childhood (Why do you dance when you walk? ), passing through the human catastrophe in Rwanda (Moisson de craniums), geopolitical exploration of the future of Africa (In the United States of Africa), the return to the homeland in times of fanaticism and wars of civilization (Passage tears) or the story of the fragility of life through the fictional biography of a protesting African-American singer and poet told … by his cat (La Divine chanson).
What creates the coherence in this plural work, which calls the political, the philosophical, the poetic and the intimate?
The person in question’s answer: “It is usually stated that the paths don’t exist. Paths are made by strolling. I believe if there’s a simple hyperlink and trait that shines by, it is this fixed quest, and it is this rejection of duties. It is, as the opposite would say, writing and studying on the border. For instance, I like somebody like Frantz Fanon. We have the impression that he’s a man stuffed with safety, however no. He stated: God, make me a questioner. It’s a person’s query, that is what pursuits me.
Having change into a “human question”, the writer questions himself by his work consisting of rupture and renewal, how you can “inhabit the border”, this existential actuality that constitutes our human modernity. How to inhabit the border, between the native and the world, between the recognized and the unknown, History and the excitement of future worlds, these are maybe the actual challenges in Waber’s work.
Latest ebook printed: Why do you dance once you stroll?, by Abdourahman Waberi. “Folio” assortment, Gallimard, 224 pages, €8.10.