He left his North African home in search for a better life in Europe. He got older and knew that he is in love with Rosalie. Rosalie, that lady living in that Mediterranean city lying between the west and east, between north and south. When he reached that city he found that there is no such a woman. All those who he thought they knew her once upon a time denied knowing a woman with that name. He kept searching till, little by little, started being paranoid. A delusion started to be formed.
Writing about a delusion, while being formed, is really difficult. Reading about that is frightening.
"I suspected her long eye contacts. Her eye brows contain white hairs. Her blinking is so frequent when our eyes met and a slowly developing smile always draws my attention to her lips. Her calm is the rule. She can calm me just by her slow walking. She was the only one to tell me: You are not well these days! She didn't ask why. I knew she didn't want me to comment. A smile was a defense against a threatening tear. The silence was so long. She is wise enough to know how silence can intense our feelings. She may say something and then feel guilty. I may say something bad enough. So she broke the silence and said in a whisper : if you like I got a new white coat, I will borrow it for you today so that you can continue your work, you give me your white coat I will clean it for you if you like!"
Hasouna Musbahi's novel "Adieu Rosalie" is boring at the beginning. You feel that he just writes everything. Things are not going into any order. No clear aim. No clear message, but a tasty flow of memories. You will feel there a man from North Africa telling you about his memories. You would listen, don't you? But he is not that man that I can like. He disappointed his family. I was going to my job one morning when I reached the lines talking about his father's death and how he visited his family. I was going to job carrying my headache over my head, while the nostalgia to my family rests so wide in my heart, and Hasouna Musbahi's novel in my hands. He told me about that day he visited his family after a long period out of home. He made me angry that day on his irresponsibility. He likes Albert Camus's novel "the stranger" and thinks that he learned to be cold and unreactive, a way he took it as model to follow. What can we learn in our era from Albert Camus? To believe the world is meaningless? Absurd? And then?
"she avoids my eye contacts. Her eye brows are so slim and small. Sometimes I suspect she has any. When we meet our voices deepen. We can feel each other having shortness of breath. She is not calm as she wants us to think of her. She is hiding untold stories God only knows since her husband had been a martyr of his ideas. When we met finally after those years she asked me: Is there any thing new?"
Some writers want to write "naked truth". Being "true" to a degree that is "naked" is not that good. It destroys our defense mechanisms. It can help some people sometimes in their life, but it seems stupid to take it as a model to follow through one's life.
So was Hasouna Musbahi's novel talking about meaninglessness and absurdity? Yes, in some of its lines. So what did I like in it? And why did I keep taking it with me in the minibus to my work for five consecutive days?
In its first part I liked his memories about his homeland (Tunisia?) mixed with his anxious diaries in his second home? (Germany?). No strong sense of identity of the main character Mr. Meloud can be felt in the novel. His emotions are continuously burning and in many times is theatrical. He fell in his great love stories from the first sight.
"The first thing to attract your attention to her is her long blond hair. Her nose is a God's masterpiece. Her lips were telling me something. She told me about him. She complained about him. He took her breath away she said. I didn't think I would be so silly to fall in love via yahoo chatting. So silly to fall in love again. I thought I can control it by reading what Ellis had said about love. He said it is deliberate. Then let us stop deliberating. Love from a first sight is a big lie. Let us be mature I said before I sleep. But when at 4 a.m. a table lamp fall on my forehead, I woke up and asked her: Why?"
I wasn't in the mood maybe to welcome Mr. Meloud's personality which was talking to me daily in the morning while I take the minibus in my one to one a half hour journey from my home to work. My sleep is not that good these days. My mood is not that clear. My behaviors is not that social. And Mr. Meloud is accompanying me in the minibus while a go to my work each morning. Did I like Mr. Meloud? Am I denying some shared characters between me and him? I don't think so.
"I got a great respect to women with depression. And if they hide it with a smile, if they struggle to hide the tear, I will easily fall in love"
The second part of the novel starts with that journey to the south of the Mediterranean searching for Rosalie and her Motel. Psychic suffering started to be expressed in immature defenses like projection and denial to end up in delusions and disturbed behavior. I felt finally that Hasouna Musbahi is a professional? writer because he was talking to me with the mouth of Mr. Meloud who lost his insight writing his diaries in a disorganized manner that let me feel indirectly, and a little late, that he is psychotic.
"She had psychosis when I was just a teenager. I thought I can understand. I thought I can help. I don't know what happened. All I know is I was way too much wrong."
There is no such a woman named Rosalie, nor anybody did hear of her motel. And Mr. Meloud is thinking that everybody is in a conspiracy against him to hide Rosalie from him. A novel that I hated to a degree that is strange.