(One century of social and cultural oppression in Manṣūr Būšanāf’s symbolic Libya)
in La rivista di Arablit, a. VII, n. 13, giugno 2017, pp. 19-34.
In Libya, during Qadhdhafi’s (al-Qaḏḏāfī) repressive dictatorship, the number of censored literary works was very high. A noteworthy novel among them is Sirāb al-layl… al-‘alakah (The Night Mirage… Chewing Gum), by playwright, novelist and essayist Manṣūr Būšanāf. Published in 2008, the novel quickly disappeared from the market, but, after the overthrow of Qadhdhafi, it was translated and published in English under the title Chewing Gum (2014). This paper analyzes the novel, which is made up of profound pages full of images, metaphors and symbols, and imbued with references to history, culture, art and philosophy. It is a complex mosaic, where each tile contributes to portray a country oppressed by social and cultural censorship that falls into the grip of chewing gum mania. Chewing gum is the glue that unites all the people, as it is the only censorship-free element in a country that, throughout the last century has known different political systems, whose common denominator was repression.
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