Maternal Metaphor in Kamel Daoud’s Recasting of Camus’s "L’Étranger"

Mary Poteau-Tralie, Suzanne Miller


In his palimpsestic counter novel to Camus’s "L’Étranger," Kamel Daoud resurrects the mother from Camus’s first sentence. "Meursault, contre-enquête" presents the silent, but all powerful, maternal presence as a metaphor for the inexorable pull of the past, not just of a personal past found within fiction, but of the much broader history of Algeria. The sons in both novels cannot extricate themselves from the dogged maternal presence. She thus becomes a hindrance to efforts to go beyond, to forge something new from the ashes of both tragic story and history. Ultimately, Daoud rewrites Camus himself into the Algerian story.


Kamel Daoud; Albert Camus; mother; Algeria; postcolonial

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