ROMAN Through the story of the revenge of a wounded woman, the writer Laurent Gaudé celebrates the power of the verb.
• Salina, the three exiles, by Laurent Gaudé, Actes sud, 152 p., € 16.80
Everything begins in a cry, in the heart of a desert of stones and sand. The cry of an infant, abandoned there, in the center of a village, by a rider who flees immediately. This cry, then the still silence of the clan Djimba, who receives the child from elsewhere and already rejects it. This child, perhaps of misfortune, is a girl. "Salina" will be her name, in memory of the salty tears which she immediately covers the land that will always be hostile to her.
The foreigner will grow up, however, in the generous shade of Mamambala – "I loved you and it's stronger than blood" – and in the full and bright love she wears in Kano. He is the son of King Sissoko, he is "Both the other and herself". But the girl is nothing and his destiny does not belong to him: it will be offered to the lust of Saro, the eldest of Sissoko. Then, undesirable she will be rebellious, rearing vainly under the yoke and the vindicte of the warriors Djimba. "Growing up is an exile," and the foolish will be banished for opposing these men and women only subject to capricious gods and deadly battles.
Filiation, exile and revenge
As before The Death of King Tsongor, Salina throbs with the mythical blood of archaic legends, where Laurent Gaudé flows his limpid sentences. "In the mineral silence of the stone dunes," here where "Everything ends, everything starts at the same time," he tells in a few words the cowardice of the lovers, the devotion of the sons and the superb women. He says filiation, exile and vengeance. He says the transmission and how much the story of the loved and vanished beings perpetuates the vivid memory, and dresses the wounds of those who cry.
Laurent Gaudé, the fighting humanist
At the threshold of the tomb, by the voice of his last son Malaka, the word will be returned to Salina, who was nothing in his lifetime a shout of origins. Salina, "The woman with the three exiles, the one who had a hated son, a son of wrath and a son to redeem everything, Salina, the woman salted by tears, condemned to be born and die while walking in unknown lands". In his name, he will restore "All these stories, all these stories. More than anything else, she gave it to him, during vigils always restarted. A thousand times, she has told strange epics, battles, barbaric myths, a thousand times, her past and the brutal era in which she was born. "
Salina, who had been screaming until then in silence, deprived of everything: her love, her land and her humanity. Salina at "Face of stone" who, under the words of Malaka, takes flesh in the eyes of all, free from his chains. Of which the supplication, finally, is welcomed: "It's not my voice to listen to, it's my story. "