Friday , July 19 2024
Mohamed Leftah - Endless Fall Cover

Book Review: ‘Endless Fall’, by Mohamed Leftah

Mohamed Leftah

Endless Fall by Mohamed Leftah is a beautiful, poetic, and heartbreaking novella about loss and regret. Leftah was a Moroccan born, writer and literary critic, and while he died at the relatively young age of 62, published a substantial body of highly praised work. Writing in French, he wrote ten novels and worked as a critic for Le Temps du Moroc and Matin Du Sahara. 

Endless Fall is almost a prose poem in manner and form. The story is an elegy for an adolescent boy who commits suicide by jumping off the roof of his school after incessant bullying because of his sexuality. Set in Morocco of the early 1960s we witness the end of this young life and see just how corrosive and deadly homophobic behaviour can be. 

In Endless Fall Leftah is recounting a true event from his youth. However instead of a simple statement of facts, he has elected to imbue his story with an aesthetic quality that elevates the incident into art. His use of metaphor and allegory are what one would expect from a poet, not a journalist.

Without being overtly indignant, or being polemic, Leftah has written a searing condemnation of not just bigotry and homophobia, but of those who are will to turn a blind eye to abuse. He speaks out against the so called righteous who are quick in their judgements and are woefully lacking in empathy or compassion.

In this case it is a teacher, who the day after the protagonist’s suicide, greets his students with versus from the Quran spelling out the fate of those who take their own life posted on the blackboard in his class. That it was this attitude that propelled the young man to take his own life is an irony not lost on readers.

With incredible delicacy and care, Leftah, mourns the death of his classmate, while celebrating his life and his beauty. Through his words we are carried back in time and place to a small town in Morocco in the 1960s. However, the attitudes expressed by the majority are all too familiar, and it is not too difficult to believe this story could be set in the present.

Endless Fall by Mohamed Leftah is a difficult read because of the subject matter and its honesty. However, its stark beauty and integrity make it one of the more intricate and radical condemnations of homophobia available. As Pride Month comes to a close this title reminds us of the real reasons behind the parades: the fight against oppression and for equality.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to Qantara.de and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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