Tue Story Can Wait (L’histoire peut attendre) is the first and only novel written by celebrated Moroccan woman poet, Rachida Madani. This mystical and hermetic text weaves a construct, that, from the outset, catches the reader off guard and off balance. Tue work opens in mid-sentence, where the narrator, on board a train, sets out to write a novel. But like the voyage itself, like the in-course novel, all ambles without direction; each random episode, like each indistinguishable station, appears to be but a harbinger to the next in a plexus of variables and uncertainties. Plot lines are launched, morph, and ultimately collapse as the train makes its way forward, toward no discernible destination. Tue present, dilatory and ill-defined, diffused and evanescent, opens no viable path forward; the past from which it labors to distance itself emerges in bursts of blurred snapshots too fleeting to re-construct into a coherent whole. What does emerge from these entangled plot lines and temporal shifts is a deep and sustained probing of the creative process, an exploration of the sub-conscious and unanticipated psychic forces that subvert and counter the author’ s deliberated intentions. Tue complex meta-textual enterprise encapsulates the self-sustaining production of non-mimetic referentiality flanked by the unconventional charms of woeful, if lovely, poeticized incantations. Tue jaunt, along whose course we may revel and flourish, invites us gradually, progressively, compellingly to confront a stunning poetics of infinite regress.
Rachida Madani, a native of Morocco, has published several volumes of poetry in French, a language she also taught for thirty years. A lifelong political militant, she expresses her resistance: “not by shouting slogans and waving banners. I fight with my words.”