Thursday, June 1, 2017

Shérazade by Leïla Sebbar

Rating: WARTY!

The blurb tells us that 17-year-old Shérazade has moved from Algeria to Paris - like the two are equivalent; as though Algeria, with its forty million people somehow matches the forty square miles of Paris, or its two million square kilometers matches Paris's two million people. I guess the blurb writer doesn't realize there are cities and villages in Algeria where people come from. They don't simply rise up out of the sand like heat haze. Haze is what this story has though, but no heat.

Shérazade is supposed to be finding herself, which is hilarious, because she becomes irretrievably lost in the nondescript and disturbingly bland pages of this book which spends very little time on her - or at least it did in the first twenty-five percent, which is all I could stand to read of what is a very antiquated and utterly boring novel.

It's translated from the French, so the thing which is lost other than Shérazade is no doubt some meaning in the translation, but this doesn't excuse the terribly flat story-telling, which despite the leading lady's involvement with anarchists, terrorists, revolutionaries, and morons, never raises the pulse, not even by an extra beat per minute.

It's all exposition and no story. Some may consider it art, no doubt with a silent 'f' at the beginning. Rather than explode like a bomb in a car, the ending is lost like a comb in a bar, and that's it. Please do yourself a favor and do not read this garbage.