Traps of scent, Yousef al-Mohaimeed
Born out of wedlock and abandoned in a carton in an alleyway, our second character, the foundling Nasser, loses an eye after being attacked by stray cats.Nasser’s folder reveals his sexual molestation by a Filipino carer in the orphanage. His story uncovers the sexual taboos of Saudi society (out of wedlock pregnancy, abandonment, child molestation) and hispowerlessness is one consigned to repetition – he is adopted temporarily by a rich woman only to be sent back to the orphanage once she becomes pregnant. Nasser puts in a real appearance when a young manwith one eye claims the green folder and disappears into the crowds of travellers.
Tarrad reveals the story of his missing ear at the end of the novel. He belonged to a poor nomadic family andsupported his family by thieving, making a good living once he teamed up with another brigand. Caught in the act by a group heading to the Hajj, both brigands are punished by being buried to shoulderlevel in the hot sand and abandoned to a predictable fate. At nightfall, a desert wolf that traced the scent of their sweat attacks Tarrad’s ear and eats his partner’s head. The descriptive sections ofTarrad’s narrative echo the literary Arabic tradition of the sa’aleek – outcast poets in pre-Islamic Arabia who rejected the protection of the tribal system and set out to lead a life of brigandage andindependence. Apart from the obvious symbolism of his name in Arabic, which implies exile/ displacement/ uprooting, Tarrad’s story connects the decline and weakening of the nomadic tribal system withpoverty, which reveals a tattered social fabric incapable of protecting its own. Hence the moment of hesitancy and his indecision at where to go.
Traps of Scent is interesting in several aspects.The main theme – that of displacement – is disconcerting with its setting being one of the richest economies in the world, but one run by a migrant labour force, too, that can claim its share of...
Lire le document complet
Veuillez vous inscrire pour avoir accès au document.