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A chaotic birth to a new world … a French novel that imagines a remote island from Corona

For a long time before the spread of the Corona virus, the topic of the epidemic was a literary tradition spread in literary history, and a number of novelists and poets dealt with human stories ranging from familiarity and separation, and feelings of loss due to the epidemic, as well as trapped in quarantine or afraid of infection or fleeing death.

In her article published in the Swiss newspaper “Luton”, writer Isabel Rove said that the novelist, screenwriter, and French filmmaker Xabi Mulia touched on the repercussions of the emerging coronavirus pandemic on societies. France, after a disease that caused an increase in violence for those afflicted with it. In his latest work, Wild Days, he talks about how influenza has tampered with Western countries.

The author pointed out that the world did not learn from previous epidemiological experiences that contributed to the emergence of air, sea and land displacement. In this context, Xavi Mulia’s novel touched on this topic, shining a spotlight on some of the fugitives stranded on an island somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between Africa and Brazil.

The circumstances of this voyage, and the past of the escapees, are being discovered, little by little, by chance. Mulia focused in this novel on how this small community was formed by chance, which threw fates with its members in an unknown environment. Mulia showed how to form a microcosm of this society in an epic, dramatic, and poetic way.

At the heart of violence

The writer considered that Mulia was close to the heroes of his novel. Although Mulia uses short sentences, it enables him to reveal the traits and features of his characters and define the complex, and the scene of the confrontation without referring to himself and the role he plays in the novel.

The young French writer Xabi Mulia has published various works in the category “Epidemiological Imagination” (Getty Images)

During the first page of the novel, Mulia’s characters had been on the island for a few months and were experiencing violent events, as the afflicted split into two parts: the first wishing to leave the island and the second consisting of a group of saboteurs.

According to Mulia, the first group seeks to return to their previous life in France. As for the others, who were initially isolated but more numerous, they find themselves satisfied with this new situation and do not want to return home. For this reason, they sought to thwart attempts to sail boats, fearing that the island would be discovered by other people. This situation will lead to the outbreak of a civil war between the two camps.

The need for a leader

In the novel, the island is characterized by beautiful natural features, but at the same time puzzling. Although there were traces of people living in them in the past, they are now deserted. There are flowing rivers, some of which were washed away by hurricanes and sandstorms, but in general their climate is moderate.

Mulia’s characters possess different skills. On the other hand, some of them were suffering from a state of shock from which they did not recover, which made them wander around the island like zombies, including a former transport minister.

Most of the afflicted do not appear, as a small number of characters occupy the front of the events, so we find first, the Admiral (commander of a naval fleet), who the group made its leader, because humans need a leader. He is a man who has lived for a long time, and has a charismatic personality who often has waves of anger. This widower accompanied his son and daughter Albani and her children, who will have a role in this tragedy.

After the admiral’s death, he was succeeded by Albany who, on several occasions, imposed the action of reason when violence was threatening to spread and was then expelled by Ilorega, a moody Basque (western France) who was a rugby player and gendarme and, like the admiral, was paranoid. Among the minor characters, we find Osvaldo Cooper, the most ruthless of those wanting to leave.

New breed

Years go by, interspersed with natural or resulting deaths from violence, madness, love stories, childbirth, and one or two disappearances. There have also been attempts to create chaos. In this context, the question arises: Should the laws of the old world be applied, and if not, who will enact new laws? And the death penalty was reimposed before it was abolished again, then what would happen to the children? In the end, a total division occurred between the “Basques” and those who wanted to leave.

Under the Iloriga dictatorship, dissidents sought to implement animalism, creating a new breed by prohibiting memories, writing, then language, and permitting nudity and sexual relations. Returning to normal life soon turns into a nightmare.

It is interesting to note that Xabi Mulia, from the Basque Country, chose to attribute to the Basque people a tendency to brutality and slavery. The ending was clever, surprising, sad, and also disappointing.




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