Home > Uncategorized > 1st Impression: The Game of Forgetting

1st Impression: The Game of Forgetting

In a word: ugh!  I know I need some background on 20th century Moroccan experience–independence, kings, suppression of speech, etc.  There’s a lot of irony in this novel, and perhaps some allegory, but unlike Miramar, it doesn’t make me want to rush in and Google everything.  As soon as I saw the title page (The Game of Forgetting: A Novelistic Text), I was wary.  This is part novel, part philosophical treatise on time, and part absurdist exercise in filling pages. 

The novel element is pretty sparse.  There’s a family, there are some children, some marriages, a death, etc.  There are a couple of levels of organization, including five chapters that are divided into multiple sections.  Some sections have plot-focused titles, such as “Taye’ in the Adults’ Arena.”  Other sections are called “Illumination” or “Obscuration.”  The most philosophical parts come in the sections in which the “Narrators’ Narrator” reports on arguments with the author.  (No, I’m not kidding).  For example, “…I determined that the distance between what is lived and what is imagined, between what is written and what is told confirms always that events and life generally run on more than one level, intermeshing and interlocking… Understood?  Therefore, to try and delude the reader and make him believe the reality of our narration will be a lost effort” (57-58).

Okay, that’s enough.  It will be amazing in the teaching group can change my mind about this one.  We’ll see on Thursday.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Bobbie
    July 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for your email. I ordered Season of Migration to the North and copied this from Amazon to share with my African Writers group. You ought to come to this once a month book club that meets at the newly renovated Shannon Dr. Library (2:15-3:30)… if your schedule permits. It is really an interesting group. (I am trying to get interested in reading Columbine for the faculty discussion, but I can not yet do it. Luckily I have read other books on the list.)

    Tayeb Salih’s great novel is a compelling satirical rewrite of Joseph Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS. In Salih’s version, instead of a European intellectual travelling to Africa to be corrupted by his contact with “primitive savagery,” the protagonist starts out as an idealistic young man from Sudan who travels northward to Europe, where he is undone by corruption, decadence, and the mutual destructiveness of unhappy love affairs. The novel is cleverly written and well translated, with terrific insights into the relationships of southern and northern hemispheres; the colonized to their colonizers; Arabs and Europeans; and men and women. I’ve read a lot of Arab novels (and many more African ones); A SEASON OF MIGRATION TO THE NORTH is the best I’ve read to date.

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