Book Review: A descent into an abyss of darkness, dreams and forgotten pasts

Updated 01 August 2018

Book Review: A descent into an abyss of darkness, dreams and forgotten pasts

  • Originally written in French in 1990, The Hospital fell into oblivion until Bouanani’s death in 2011
  • Bouanani’s novel is a descent into an abyss of darkness, dreams, forgotten pasts, mythological anecdotes, religious fervor, and unknown illness

Ahmed Bouanani’s complex but provocative novel The Hospital does not serve the living but the dead. When not being treated, patients wander the halls, interact, and attempt to navigate the expanse of the hospital while Bouanani’s nameless narrator writes down all he sees. Eventually, the line between their realities and nightmares fade, and the hospital gate disappears, making it a prison they can never leave. 

Originally written in French in 1990, The Hospital fell into oblivion until Bouanani’s death in 2011. It was not until 2012, when his novel was reprinted in France and Morocco, that it received great acclaim. It was translated into English by Lara Vergnaud and published by New Directions Books in 2018. 

Bouanani’s novel is a descent into an abyss of darkness, dreams, forgotten pasts, mythological anecdotes, religious fervor, and unknown illness. When Bouanani’s narrator first walks into the hospital, he assumes that he must have been alive because he can still “smell the scents of a city” on his skin. 

The narrator meets porters, shopkeepers, and unemployed patients. He meets smugglers and thugs and “the rejects of inexplicable wars and an aborted nationalist resistance, farm boys without land or bread, left behind by chance like febrile castaways with a cargo of off-seasons and coarse languages.” Nevertheless, the patients come together in Wing C, donning their blue pajamas and feasting together for their last remaining days. 

Bouanani’s text overflows with descriptions of Morocco’s landscape and the depth of its history with clarity in a text riddled with vague and dreamlike characters and their delusions and stories that are indistinguishable as real memories or fantasized pasts. 

The characters are reminiscent of the marginalized, says translator Vergnaud, and the forgotten, “first by a colonial regime and later a bureaucratic and oppressive new state.”

Bouanani’s novel seems like a Kafkaesque novel at first, but it is layered with decades of insight into social and political changes. 


What We Are Reading Today: Free for Life by Christopher Lee Maher

Updated 17 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Free for Life by Christopher Lee Maher

Unresolved physical, spiritual, mental and emotional stress, tension, and structural distortion rob people of their ability to do what they truly love. The majority of the available tools designed to help you manage your complex stressors are a distraction from the underlying road blocks that keep your body from healing itself. There is a much better way to rebalance and restore your health so you can resume doing all the things that bring you joy, peace and happiness.

The intense complex stressors  Christopher Lee Maher experienced as a child and as a Navy SEAL inspired him to embody, study and develop powerful systems that create instantaneous, permanent change at a conscious, unconscious and subconscious level.

He introduces his remarkable wellness program in Free for Life. His True Body Intelligence system is a suite of  subtractive methodologies specifically designed to restore balance to the emotions, body, brain, and nervous system, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

The systems within True Body Intelligence assist in reintegrating every aspect of your being to offer real, permanent solutions for root causes, not bandages for symptoms.