“Two seconds of burning air”, by Diaty Diallo: towards conflagration

Two seconds of burning air

by Diaty Diallo

Threshold, 174 p., €17.50

Here is the very lively and very brackish impression of enduring the nightmare of all these youths in the housing estates padlocked by unemployment and controlled by the police. Resourceful and joyful, humiliated and suspicious, go about fellow victims of racism. They meet in crevices under the slab, labyrinthine basements, damp cellars with the scent of inhospitable earth: “It’s the smell of the share that we are left with”writes Diaty Diallo in this novel of mounting pressure.

In this lopsided universe of abundant solidarity where so many decreed destinies without a future are woven, one raid too many of the forces of order inflicts irreparable damage. The cops open fire on a fleeing motorcycle. Samy, clinging to Bak’s waist, does not escape the bullets: “He feels the breath of the last like a secret at the threshold of his ear, just before everything around him darkens. »

In the heart of devastation

The ensuing cataclysm, the writer tracks, “to the rhythm of underground pulsations”. From shared mourning to the final explosion – the possibility of an attack – the devastating novel rushes to the heart of the devastation. With a rare strength, energy, rage and grace of writing.

The social dialect of the neighborhoods, inventive, colorful, of an extraordinary poetry, vibrates, leaps, explodes: hybrid and held writing, chtarbé but always magnificent. It never revolves around the navel of the author. On the contrary, it carries the collective, carries the word of the districts struck in their flesh, announces the suburban apocalypse which concerns us all.

The power of words and elocution appears on the side of the damned of the city. They try to negotiate, to parley, to persuade police officers hermetic to language, armored with the sole desire to strike in the name of the law.

general call

Before accompanying the fiery vengeful chaos, Two seconds of burning air lets out a tortured cry, a sharp plea, a general appeal: “Don’t tear the hair out of black people. Do not lower the boxer shorts, must believe us when we say that we are ourselves and not much more than on an identity card. Don’t bend, don’t bend, don’t chase us, stop making us run, don’t beat us, rape us, shoot us. Please stop. »

This trip to the end of bad luck announces the birth of a literature of rebellious adversity, which has become an unleashed fighter of the French language thus superbly scarified.

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