Shameem Kazmi is a famous Moroccan author. Born in Morocco, he is a poet and a novelist. The book that thrust him into the limelight was entitled Deserte, translated by Youssef Al-Rabie. It is a book of powerful emotions – dark and tender at the same time – dealing with the ordeals of a young woman who becomes a mother and lives with her two daughters. This is also a book of tremendous wisdom and sagacity.
What stands out about Deserte is the manner in which Kazmi weeps while recalling the death of her beloved husband. In the book, she weeps when she realizes that his body was not buried with respect. She weeps for his soul, for his loss, for all those he left behind. While we mourn, we cry too Shameem Kazmi; and this is what makes the book so powerful and moving.
The writer does not minimize the sorrowful events of her husband’s murder, but she insists on the fact that his life was full of meaning and that he was very lucky to have had so much love. At times, the book seems as if Kazmi wishes that she had been born rich rather than poor. She longs for a husband and children, but she understands that those things are just beyond her reach. And yet, she can’t leave her daughters. She loves them more than anything and she wishes they would stay with her forever.
One of the saddest things in the book is when the daughter notices that her shoes are not new. They are not like the others she has seen, which make her feel like a spectacle. She goes to find her mother, who tells her that the shoes were not purchased specifically by her but by another woman, a friend of hers. This is a painful revelation for the daughter. She tries to console her mother, but the truth is that she has no words to offer to comfort her.
Kazmi understands that her father was killed because of the way he treated her. She also comes to understand why her husband would kill him. It is this transformation of thought and feeling that prompt her to travel to Pakistan, where her father’s funeral is being held.
The book ends with a brief and heartrending epilogue. After all, Kazmi is trying to make amends for her father’s death, but she can’t do it alone. She decides to go and see her mother in Pakistan so that she can tell her the truth about her father’s murder. The ending of this book leaves you hanging until the very end…