By Professor Abdelwahab Meddeb & Doctor Of French Jane Kuntz
"Talismano" is a novelistic exploration of writing obvious as a hallucinatory trip via half-remembered, half-imagined cities--in specific, town of Tunis, either because it is now, and because it as soon as used to be. jogging and writing, trip and magazine, replicate each other to provide a calligraphic, magical paintings: a palimpsest of varied languages and cultures, highlighting Abdelwahab Meddeb's beguiling mastery of either the Western and Islamic traditions. Meddeb's trip is initially a sensual one, nearly decadent, the place the narrator luxuriates within the Tunis of his stories and intercuts those impressions with reminiscences of different towns at different instances, reviving the legendary figures of Arab-Islamic legend that experience pale from reminiscence in a quickly westernizing North Africa. A fever dream located at the knife-edge among competing cultures, "Talismano" is a testomony to the ability of language to rouse, and subdue, event
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Landscapes burned by the sun: fierceness and courage, temporary alliance that disconcerts and later offends; strife that lends the nomads their steady composure, fire that moves with the seasons: logic of such coagulated dust, intense odor, salts and resins that hold the skin in place: lands loved that stick to the body’s cells like decomposed flesh, loose soil against arid ground. RETURN PROSTITUTION Here I am back again, spoken, city of mazes, moved to put aside thoughts of childhood, to recover bygone flavors through this Tunis of amorous pursuit.
TALISMANO PROLOGUE Bloodshot and tear-stained, if only in these hours dying everywhere; and the idea that dawdles and wavers between shores: the idea that sometimes locks itself away and paralyzes the fingers; the idea cast off, shattered, unloaded from one vessel to the next, pulverized, a refugee in the morning dew that drips sweetness from the foliage on the outskirts of so many cities. History is nothing but words and ghosts, sex restrained or intense, in all haste, borders reconciling the myths of a fleeting self.
Fertile scent, pinches and winks revive desire, always there, almost childlike. Blind alleys unexplored, or merely disregarded back when. A thrill to retrace footsteps, unrushed, promising. Bath towels in geometric colors hung out to dry on the terrace roof of the Qa’addn hammam, home to my induction into the company of men, into the brotherhood of the circumcised. Reticence. Vivid scenes of bachelor intrigue. Deep down, far and wide, overwhelming oppression. The sun’s out. Past Bab Swqa, the street leads up to the school for girls and my early passions, their slow burn.