“The places we have known do not belong solely to the world of space in which we situate them for our greater convenience. They were only a thin slice among contiguous impressions which formed our life at that time; the memory of a certain image is but regret for a certain moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fleeting, alas, as the years.”
Reviews Written by John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) The 40 days of Ramadan…, September 20, 2013
No question the author is enthralled with the brilliant sun-drenched landscape of Algeria, a sharp “depaysément” from the “gris” of his native Normandy. He can wax lyrical with descriptive passages such as: “wild pomegranate intolerably acrid with aromatic astringencies”; and, “syrupy figs, and grapes both violet and golden, so sweet I could eat only four, the rest I gave to children.” My favorite is “an avalanche of sun.” Now, why had I never thought of that before? But the book is an eclectic mix of highly impressionist wanderings, seemingly random and with no purpose. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, he complains of the other tourists, citing examples of his interactions with the natives that are far more authentic.
Oh! how lovely the caravans were those evenings in Touggourt, when the sun was sinking into the salt.(André Gide)
The streets on market days, happily coated with hot and motley colors and spices, of lavender, saffron, Curcuma, and paprika; with that faintly scent of musky dust sustended in the air, that was the clime of the Sook; perfumes, of oranges, mint, and lime, melt in the air, make you drunken, burnous and creasing white silk veils, red tarbush dancing, and your eyes burning, with that unfathomable sun, that seems just hanging over your head as if it was your conscience, and making you stepping on your proper shade at your feet _ in the Sahara desert, you must be two people to have a shade, and that a maniac sky, thru blue that sometimes turned to white, made you linger for the infinitesimal freshness around. Mirage, mirror of images of the past that stick to your mind, whether it was in the small oasis of Touggourt, or under the arcades of the Casbah of Algiers, or Tanger.