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Mohammed Dib: Cours sur la rive sauvage [A Walk on the Wild Side]

Iven Zohar is about to marry Radia but he has a feeling that things are going to go wrong. He is not mistaken. The city is shaken by a cataclysm and becomes étrangère, strange, as though it is another city and not the one he knows. Worse, he is separated from Radia and starts to look for her. Eventually he finds her but she does not seem to be the Radia he knew. He follows her blindly through this now strange, foreign city. He loses her and then finds her or, rather, she finds him. But who finds him? He gradually realises that this woman is Radia but is also Hellé, another woman but, yet, the same. He soon comes to realise that Hellé is not only Radia but she is the new city, the one that he is learning to discover.

A brief description of the plot seems almost ridiculous for what Dib does is to take a love affair and make it not into a story but a myth. He shows that the view of the woman loved, Radia, changes the view of the lover, seeing the city as destroyed but rebuilt in a different image and offering a whole new perspective to the observer, though the other inhabitants, as he notes at the end, seem to go about their business as normal. Dib has shown, as comparatively few other writers have, that one way to produce great literature is to create myth and move the story into the level of dreams.

Publishing history

First published in French by Éditions du Seuil in 1964
No English translation