“Our unexpected brothers” by Amin Maalouf: alone in the world

Our unexpected brothers

by Amin Maalouf

Grasset, 336 p., 22 €

What can happen in this islet of Antioch which is part of a small archipelago of Chirons, off the Atlantic coast? Having inherited this uninhabited end of an island, cartoonist Alec Zander spends peaceful days there. Until the day when everything changes: “My two hundred watt lamp flickered on the ceiling like a wretched church candle, and it went out. “

Dystopia made of humor and scathing criticism, Amin Maalouf’s new novel takes us into an epic and chilling scenario. As the nuclear powers play bully, here is a brotherhood of humans with awesome powers stepping in to keep the world from self-destruction. “They are not at the service of any nation or any power, and they have only one objective: to prevent a planetary cataclysm. They will be eager to return to their role as spectators as soon as the danger is over. “

Generosity poorly rewarded

But once in the place, these unexpected brothers and come from who knows where they go further: nourished with Greek wisdom and endowed with a superior intelligence, they take care of and rejuvenate the population, they organize the supplies… This generosity is good poorly rewarded: it is true that, in all latitudes, there always comes a moment when the citizen rebels. The retaliatory measures were not long in coming: power cuts and social networks, confinement … And the island of Antioch soon became the watchtower of a world in turmoil.

The artist chronicles the events, thanks to information from his old friend Moro at the White House, Agamemnon the ferryman, Eve, his closest neighbor, author of a single novel with a premonitory title: The future no longer lives at this address. Temporal power is not only at stake, but the very foundations of society: “What will become of our sciences, our languages, our religions, our legends, our heroes, all these things of which we are proud and whose memory animates us? “ It is at the foot of the wall that we measure what we hold: “It seems that our civilization, in spite of its spectacular advances, suffered from a devious evil which was going to prevail. “

→ PORTRAIT. Amin Maalouf, a disoriented Levantine

“All normal life is now suspended, everywhere on the planet” : written well before the pandemic, this philosophical tale, the eighteenth book of the academician, strikes our health news, with these airs of planetary threat, isolation and uncertainty … “The workers no longer work, the students no longer study, the rulers no longer govern, the consumers only consume what is strictly necessary, and even crimes are rare …” And we would like to live “as before”? This is not the meaning of history, which never goes back.

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