Marine heterotopia and odyssean nomadism in Malika Mokeddem’s N’zid (2020) Journal of North African Studies, 25 (1), pp. 100-115.
Malika Mokeddem’s N’zid is a Mediterranean odyssey in which the ship is a heterotopia of emancipation from patriarchal society and dogmatic sedentariness. For Michel Foucault, ‘heterotopia’ is a real place that subverts ‘normalized cultural sites’; the ship is the heterotopia par excellence for being an immense storehouse of imagination and adventure. The autofictional novel N’zid can be read from the lens of blue ecocriticism because the Mediterranean Sea and the ship constitute the protagonist’s place of liminal nomadism between the different spaces of her belonging wherein she abolishes frontier territoriality. When she wakes up in the middle of the sea, she discovers a facial hematoma but cannot remember what happened. It fades away as she pieces together fragments of her memory, learning that she was attacked by terrorists and that her lover disappeared. Sailing and drawing become her tools to nomadise literally and metaphorically, freeing herself from her shackles and become whole again. N’zid is hence a ‘scriptotherapy’ through which writing has a healing function. It is an internal odyssey for psychological reconstruction, whence the meaning of the title in Algerian Arabic: ‘I am born’ and ‘I go on’. The richness of this novel lies in the wealth of literary theories and intertextual references from which Mokeddem draws. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
deteriterrorialisation; Heterotopia; nomadism; rhizome; scriptotherapy; third space
nomadic people, rhizome, territoriality