Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Laroui. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laroui. Show all posts

10 August, 2016

Fouad Laroui, "Dislocation"

The theme of the story, "Dislocation," is what does it mean, and how does it feel to be foreign? A guy, Maati, walked home, slowly and asked himself "What would it be like, he asked himself, a world where everything was foreign?" "...a feeling that drowns me, regularly..."

He tried to explain to his wife, Anna, that "he was Moroccan by birth, in body, but 'French in the head'." Are there levels or stages of foreign? "Here in Utrecht, wasn't he ten times more of a foreigner than he would have been if he had moved to Nantes or Montpellier?"

The author uses a repetitive and expanding organizational syntax. He started with a question and as the main character, Maati, walked home to "sweet, kind Anna" he added nuances and examples, like animals in the zoo, to his question. He realized that "Anna was waiting for him--sweet, kind Anna--but sweet and kind because he never annoyed her" and "that it was out of the question, consequently, to import anything of his own customs, habits, behaviors." Maati admitted, realized, "I am not at home here, I am a sort of guest in this country."

At dinner, he acquiesced, "hastily putting the spoon back down" ... "but at least he had given the impression of reflecting with them, so that he would be slightly of their world."

Near home, exhausted, frustrated, "he leaned his entire body against a tree whose name he probably didn't know..." But finally, he realized he lived for the comfort of the woman he loved.

"Dislocation" is the second story in Laroui's collection, The Curious Case of Dassoukine's Trousers recently published by Deep Vellum Publishing.

09 August, 2016

Fouad Laroui, "The Curious Case of Dassoukine's Trousers"

The absurd and funny short story by Fouad Laroui can be found at Words Without Borders as well as in the Deep Vellum Publishing edition of Fouad Laroui's new collection, The Curious Case of Dassoukines's Trousers. 

The story opens with a trio having beer in a bar on the Grand Place in Brussels. Dassoukine regales his two companions with his recent trip from Morocco to purchase flour for his country. "The country's future is at risk." The prime minister from the Rabat tarmac yells, "...get the best price, my boy..."

Dassoukine tells twice that "Belgium really is the birthplace of Surrealism." The reader can guess she is in for some fun juxtapositions. Not only that, but racism, privilege, power, control, and access are all explored and laid bare in this hilarious story, absurd yet is not. Just as in Surrealism, there are truths at the base. "The man who saved his country a hundred thousand euros! It's really my trousers they should be honoring." LOL Do clothes make the man?

Dassoukine has to wear some worn, hideous golf--some say golf developed in The Netherlands--pants to negotiate for the purchase of the wheat and causes quit a stir, "the end of European civilization." Reminds me of the scene in the movie, My Cousin Vinny when the defense lawyer gets stuck wearing "this ridiculous thing." However, in the end, he obtains the wheat for free due to the false magnanimity of the Belgians.

Link to an interview with Laroui at Words without Borders
Link to Deep Vellum Press