The second novel from the acclaimed author of The Meursault Investigation pays homage to the essential need for fiction and to the insolent freedom afforded by an adopted language in a fable, parable, and confession.
Zabor thinks that he possesses the power to save the lives of the dying by furiously writing stories about them ... Confidently translated from the French by Emma Ramadan, it is a somewhat frantic, rambling thing, allowing full vent to Zabor’s 'predilection for digressions.' But if it lacks the compression of Mr. Daoud’s 2013 novel ...it is animated by the same zealous faith in the messianic potential of narrative.
Kamel Daoud’s second novel translated by Emma Ramadan, is maniacally concerned with questions of storytelling, meaning, and mortality ... Zabor is both blessed and cursed by his ability to save any person’s life by simply writing about that person ... Zabor’s notebooks might be filled with the level of mundane detail that practitioners like Marcel Proust and Karl Ove Knausgaard are famous for, with the noteworthy exception that Zabor writes about others, not himself.
Zabor, the narrator of Algerian writer Daoud’s rich, exhilarating second novel, finds salvation in writing ... As he labors on his opus, details of his backstory and situation emerge: an outcast for being something of an autodidact among the barely literate people of his village, he almost never leaves his house. The episodic chapters touch on various points in Zabor’s development, and they’re united by his literary passion, where sustenance and the purpose of his existence lie chiefly in the world of the word ... A Proustian undertone drives this provocative book, which will resonate with readers who share Zabor’s zeal for literature.