Malak Desert Child
July 18, 2020
Malak is a stunning evocation of North Africa and its encounter with Western civilisation seen through the relationship between Pete, fleeing to Morocco to escape his mental demons by seeking solace in a pre-modern world, and a family who in escaping from their violent, drunken father to the Algerian Sahara, experience other problems and persecution. The splendid descriptions of North African life, of bazaars and souks beaches and ports and the towns, rich valleys and deserts of Morocco and Algeria, are given depth by insight into the immediate history of the area and two upheavals, a rebellion and a revolution. OGarra brings an unusual sympathy and insight into this largely unknown world, the southern 'Other' of Western civilisation, and through his familiarity and insight probes and brings out our common humanity in this tale of struggle and adventure. Camus rendered North Africa alien and incomprehensible in 'L'Etranger'; Ogarra brings that world to us and shows us our own face in the mirror of his writing even as he critically confronts the dehumanising and distorting effects of the media glare in our globally connected world in which all the outer things are stripped bare, but the inner workings of the heart remain in shadow. Albeit in the company of a courageous girl-child, her family and her newly acquired band of personages who seek only to save her from her own valour which finds her time and again plunging headfirst into the abyss.
Paul OGarra is a writer dedicated to fictionalising truths which have been swept under the carpet but should be forever exposed. And fighting in each individual reader´s mind for the retention of the existence of an all mighty Deity and of Faith, that elusive wonder that has in one way or another been responsible for the greatest of human achievement.
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