Mazes, the night of the great discord

H'mida Ayachi

Éditions Barzakh




Translated from Arabic by Lotfi Nia

From Makedra – a village close to Sidi Bel Abbès – to Algiers, in five chapters like so many mazes, the story of H'midou, the protagonist-narrator, and of H'mida, his journalist and writer alter-ego, intermingles monologues, poems, dreams, press clippings, childhood memories, fragments of texts on the Islamic history of Algeria and hypnotic incantations. Published in Arabic in 2000, Dédales is an imaginative novel which, between trance, terror and abundance of voices, tries to restore the madness and torment of the years of war and violence. A collage-novel, it reflects the author's theatrical experience and the diversity of his references: from The Arabian Nights to the Raï song, from sacred texts to contemporary Arabic poetry, via Beckett, Faulkner or Artaud. Lotfi Nia's translation, a major tour de force, multiplies tenfold the singularity of this remarkable text.  

Journalist, author and theatre actor born in 1958, H'mida Ayachi studied political science. He founded and directed the daily Djazaïr News. He is the author of literary and political novels and essays, including an evocation of the life of Kateb Yacine whom he met during the 1980s.  

 Born in 1978 in Algiers, Lotfi Nia is a translator from Arabic into French. He translates, among others, contemporary Algerian literature (Bachir Mefti, Samir Kacimi...).