Australian Journal of French Studies

Maternal Estrangement: Uncovering Family Crimes in Malika Mokeddem’s Je dois tout à ton oubli

Australian Journal of French Studies (2017), 54, (2-3), 174–184.

Abstract

Malika Mokeddem’s novel Je dois tout à ton oubli is a haunting work that explores the mother-daughter relationship from a complex perspective, focusing on traumatic amnesia, repressed memories, and family secrets. This essay will concentrate on the estranged relationship between the traditional Algerian mother and the resistant daughter, Selma. As the embodiment of postmodern freedom associated with her generation, Selma rejects the conventional Islamic values her mother upholds. To examine the strained relationship between them, particular emphasis will be placed on the representation of Selma’s “bad” mother, as she holds the key to uncovering the truth about a tragic family crime. The latter part of the study will explore the larger socio-political implications of motherhood, pertaining to women’s roles in postcolonial Algeria.

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Author details

Arenberg, Nancy