A lone hero struggles with attendance through absence
Mansoura Ezz El-Din in “Atlas of Invisibility”
Sunday – 30 Ramadan 1443 AH – 01 May 2022 AD Issue No. [
Cairo: Mona Abu Al-Nasr
The hero of the novel “Atlas of Invisibility” – the Egyptian “Sunrise” house – does not seem to be a page complaining about the absence of people in his life. Rather, it appears that during his entire absence he was eager for this absence to live, as if he were in a state of extended devotion to his unity and himself, without complaining that he was “cut from the tree,” as he describes himself , listening to people is a burden to him, and their appearance is curiosity. He wants to “live and move in a world where there is no sound: no talking, no murmuring, no shouting, no crackling, no noise, no barking.”
In her latest novel, Egyptian author Mansoura Ezz El-Din builds two parallel worlds for one hero, as long as drowning in work is his only concern.Which has no outcome anymore, where the holidays are open, and the world is exposed to nothingness.
In his emotional and strict world, where he is cut off from family and love, the kitchen, the balcony and the living room are the world, Murad surrenders to escape waves of memories and dreams, which he calls “insights”, those details that “shine” in the cloudy sky of his memory without introductions “, drowns him in an Alternative world parallel to his static world, and introduces him to an extensive spiritual journey, open to the spaces of childhood and youth, where grandmother, mother, sister , and first lover, who looks out the balconies of his memory, makes them feel with their radiance the cracks of his days.
– Champion or zero?
The novelist used the conscience of the speaker and the absentees to build Murad’s world divided between poor reality and free imagination, as if we were on a journey that accompanies the path of two separate heroes, simultaneously connecting: “Murad the clairvoyant does not look like his weak, mortal person. ”
In the realistic path, Murad’s wanderings do not exceed the boundaries of his area of residence, and his immediate surroundings, where the library, the cafe, the neighboring streets and the workplace, and his wanderings do not seem to be an attempt to approach her. not. man, he is in a state of deliberate avoidance of the curiosity of others and approaching his life, and his visit to a library near the house is the visit The only one through the whole novel, and she starts from a special passion , as he seeks a notebook to buy, and only a neutral and gray notebook catches his eye.He brings it to his house and surrounds it with colored ink pens, to begin his journey to regain his faded insights, and it write down in separate paragraphs on paper.He grabs the green pen and starts writing, determined to tell his manifestations in the third person, not the first person. And soon he changed his mind and decided to write with the first person, as there is no significant distance between two situations for the same person, and his appearance should be attributed to him alone.
Through the first-person pronoun Murad controls the orbit of his insights, which is dominated by the subtlety of dream language. The narrative seems to be scattered between his limited movement told in the third person in linguistic identification with the idea of his emotional absence from his surrounding world, and between passages he writes in his insight book, dominated by fragments from his childhood village.And his small, mobile world, which petrified before his life until he reached the age of retirement.
– fantasy journey
The hero does not record his life in a recording form, but enters the paths of a parallel world he has not lived, so the radiance becomes a journey in itself, taking him to where he has not set foot no, where geography is an open land that comes to him, he who has never seen a mountain in his life, and he has only seen the sea once. He tries to make connections with this world he does not know, in an imaginary walk he writes in his notebook: “When I walked on the edge of a barren mountain cliff, I thought I could see the sea in the vicinity “I looked around and saw no body of water.”
Thus trees grow in his imagination, which appear in the narrative with infinite names, some of them are known as cypress, mango and chewing gum, and among them fantasy trees have grown in the space of his imagination in which he finds himself wandering inside as a visible being, with transparent abilities to see and feel the lightness of a dream: “I found myself in a glass hole, I looked up to the place where I started, and discovered that it was also in glass has been changed. The sun’s rays were reflected on green, red and blue crystal trees. “
Dreams, insights, fantasies, flashes and memories appear as an alternative atlas while Murad wanders between his orchards, and also his nightmares. In the background appear the grandmother’s stories that give us a background about the narrative and imaginary structure with which Murad grew up. up in his childhood, like her stories of the Nile fairies, a grandmother whose voice apparently became. it, and included it with it.
But Murad’s surrender to his free and sharp spiritual journey of his imaginations to the world, does not seem to have been able to free him from his isolation and alienation, as he longs for his work from which he retired, and the daily way in which he takes to him as he watches the world and people, even from behind his impenetrable glass wall, as if a muffled buzz envelops His world, searching in the open space and people’s faces, to a point of balance that he begins to lose whenever he touch. in his writings the memories of his persistent pain, which he himself could not free from his grasp, such as the accident of his sister’s loss and death, which left him in the hell of interpretations of absence, loss, and total alienation.