The Story Can Wait (L’histoire peut attendre) is the first and only novel written by celebrated Moroccan woman poet, Rachida Madani. This mystical and hermetic text weaves a construct, that, from the outset, catches the reader off guard and off balance. The work opens in mid-sentence, where the narrator, on board a train, sets out to write a novel. But like the voyage itself, like the in-course novel, all ambles without direction; each random episode, like each indistinguishable station, appears to be but a harbinger to the next in a plexus of variables and uncertainties. Plot lines are launched, morph, and ultimately collapse as the train makes its way forward, toward no discernible destination. The present, dilatory and ill-defined, diffused and evanescent, opens no viable path forward; the past from which it labors to distance itself emerges in bursts of blurred snapshots too fleeting to re-construct into a coherent whole. What does emerge from these entangled plot lines and temporal shifts is a deep and sustained probing of the creative process, an exploration of the sub-conscious and unanticipated psychic forces that subvert and counter the author’s deliberated intentions. Significantly, then, this complex meta-textual enterprise encapsulates the self-sustaining production of non-mimetic referentiality flanked by the unconventional charms of woeful, if lovely, poeticized incantations. The jaunt, along whose course we may revel and flourish, invites us gradually, progressively, compellingly to confront a stunning poetics of infinite regress.


Mary Jo Muratore provides the first and only English translation of Rachida Madani’s postmodern novel, The Story Can Wait (L’histoire peut attendre), and includes an extended introductory essay.  (Published in the series L’Orizzonte, Éditions AGA, 2020)

Mary Jo Muratore has published the first English translation (with introductory essay) of Rachida Madani's novel, The Story Can Wait (L'histoire peut attendre)