Monday, June 29, 2015

Review- Incendies (Scorched) by Wajdi Mouawad

Goodreads Summary (Incendies):

Lorsque le notaire Lebel fait aux jumeaux Jeanne et Simon Marwan la lecture du testament de leur mère Nawal, il réveille en eux l'incertaine histoire de leur naissance: qui donc fut le père, et par quelle odyssée ont-ils vu le jour loin du pays d'origine de leur mère? En remettant à chacun une enveloppe, destinées l'une à ce père qu'ils croyaient mort et l'autre à leur frère dont ils ignoraient l'existence, il fait bouger les continents de leur douleur: dans le livre des heures de cette famille, des drames insoupçonnés les attendent, qui portent les couleurs de l'irréparable. Mais le prix à payer pour que s'apaise l'âme tourmentée de Nawal risque de dévorer les destins de Jeanne et de Simon.

Goodreads Summary of English edition (Scorched):

Twin children Jeanne and Simon want to solve the mystery of their origins. In retracing the bitter history of their mother, who is about to die, other characters come into the story—witnesses or key players able to assist in the investigation. Carried aloft by poetic language, the inquiry pursued by Jeanne and Simon unfolds in a dreamlike atmosphere.


Wow. It's been a really long time since a book made me go wow. Seriously, I have nothing else to say but wow. Generally, I don't review books that I have to read for literature class. The only exception has been The Stranger by Alber Camus because, well, it's Camus. The reason I decided to write a review for Incendies is simple: I felt the need to do so. I had heard that this play is really, really great. But trust me, that is an understatement. Incendies is disturbing, mind blowing and absolutely astonishing; everything I love in books. Also, when it comes to Incendies, unlike Camus, I am reviewing the original French version. The English edition is called Scorched, and I do hope to read it sometime. 

Incendies is a play that is the second instalment in a saga called Le Sang des Promesses that has a total of four books. It is the story of one single family. It is the story of blood and promises, as the series title righty says. Sang means blood, and promesses is promises. I don't know what the actual, proper translation of Le Sang des Promesses is, but you get the point. Anyway, Le Sang des Promesses is also the subtitle of Incendies. And it is so apt. I didn't get it at first, but once I did get it, wow. I was blown away. 

The characters in Incendies are all so well developed and unique in their own way. The play starts off with the death of a mother who leaves letters to her daughter and son asking them to find out about their father and brother. And my God! If I say anything else, I may end up spoiling the whole story, so that's the only gist I can give. That brings me to the story itself. It is absolutely, truly, thoroughly brilliant. Half the stuff that happened, I never saw coming. I was at the edge of my seat throughout. I was so very interested in knowing everything that I read this play like mad. I am sincerely so glad and grateful for my Canadian literature classes, thanks to which I got to read this marvel. 

The most important aspect and the one aspect that deserves all the credit for the brilliance of this play is author Wajdi Mouawad. His characters, his story, his writing... Just the way his mind must be working... Wow. I am so shocked in the most astonishing and thrilling way possible. I loved loved loved this play. It could possibly be my most favourite play ever, and I would love to watch the movie (even though it won't be as great as the book, I can already tell) and dream to see the play in action sometime. 


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