The papers of both novels started to come in my hands as I turn them and the two books ended like trees in autumn, devoid of their fallen yellow leaves. The first novel was bought from Algeria, the second form Iraq. Both about a life of a communist. Both written by a communist. An ex-communist?
Both main characters are ill. In the Algerian novel he had paranoid delusions and spending the time in a mental hospital, the Iraqi novel he had paraplegia, spending the time in a wheelchair.
Both are men who are taken care by a European woman. Selene, the French, takes care of the Algerian anonymous protagonist, and Maria, that nurse from Netherland, takes care of the Iraqi protagonist named Saeed The Iraqi.
Selene asks the Algerian, in Rachid Boudjedra’s novel “The Denial”, about the story of his mother. The protagonist starts to describe his mother’s life and its environment, mainly the house, which she does not go beyond. But he also describes his life, his father’s and his brother’s, his uncles’ and aunts’.
By his way of talking about his mother he also describes the city. From his narration you can see the signs of his mental illness yet you may get sometimes bored or tired while the pages, the papers, the leaves of the book, keep coming in your hand as you turn the book, and sometimes fall from your hands to the ground. You will end in the middle of the novel of about 300 pages with a file of individual papers each of which trying to find a way to escape from the two covers of the badly printed novel.
The Iraqi communist in Jasim Al-Mutayer’s novel “The Sick Communist” is named Saeed The Iraqi and he had left Iraq in the 90s to Algeria, Yemen, and finally Syria in which he get ill and the doctors in the Syrian hospital told him: “You will die tomorrow.”
Jasim Al Mutayer
Since then he kept repeating each day that he would die tomorrow. He was accepted as a political refugee in Netherland. After a while in the hospital a nurse named Maria took him to her home by a wheelchair, in which she lives alone, and started to take care of him.
He is confused in Netherland since he cannot but love the country, yet the country is a capitalist one. Maria, in spite of her habit of bringing the Iraqi newspaper of the Iraqi Communist Party to him and of opening it in front of his eyes (his is paralyzed and cannot hold the paper) and turning the pages for him, is not a communist. He is visited by his Iraqi friends all of whom are communist refugees in capitalist Europe. His friends open philosophical conversations with Maria who answers them that she is not a philosopher and that the difficulties of life doesn’t need a philosophical doctrine to understand them. She adds: “It is the right of every human being to live a long life whether it was in a crying wind or a smiling breeze.”
While the Iraqi communist is still believing each day that he will die tomorrow, and while the Algerian anonymous communist is still fighting his paranoid delusions, the papers of the novels are falling one by one.