Atiq and Alice Rahimi, father and daughter

A father and a daughter. Two intensities. He has clear, sunny eyes, a frank smile that commonly bursts into laughter, an apparent urge for food for exchanges with others. She has jet-black hair, a transferring magnificence, a gaze that delves into herself for the phrase earlier than lighting up with a beneficiant smile. They’re invited to the Étonnants Voyageurs pageant for the guide that brings collectively their correspondence. Atiq Rahimi, trustworthy to this occasion based by his late pal Michel Le Bris, evokes his duo as these “Sea vacationers, trapped in boats touring the world. Alice in her studio, I in my studio, we journey with the waves of phrases. »

The journey begins in March 2020 with the primary confinement and ends in December, the day after Alice’s second and twenty fourth birthday. The dialogue begins on the initiative of Atiq. “The obvious trigger was checking on Alice, however the underlying trigger was telling her I exist!” », he breaks into an enormous snicker. He misses her. She does not miss him, she replies slyly. Or not how he missed him in his childhood throughout his travels far-off. “I had by no means written him something aside from informative and anecdotal messages.She explains. I noticed in our letters a gateway to your land, with the need to shake it. »

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Each see their lives suspended by the pandemic. In her third yr on the Paris Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Alice was getting ready to current a present. For Atiq, 2020 can be “his” yr, with a documentary, Our Woman of the Nilea guide, the mirror visitorgetting ready an opera, Shirinefilming a film… “However my present was simply a pc and a cellphone. The longer term was in full uncertainty. I used to be solely left with the previous, a interval of my life that I used to be the one one to have lived. »

The safety of the Persian language

Discussions are in French. If Afghanistan is the homeland of Atiq and his spouse Rahima, who typically took their youngsters there, as soon as in school Alice and her brother Sâm responded in French to folks who spoke to them in Persian. The younger girl can’t learn or write her native language, which stays for her that of childhood: “Once I converse, my voice modifications to sound just like the one I had once I was 10, a little bit squeaky, very well mannered and smiling. The Persian reassures me. » She speaks that language within the film Mashhad Nights by the Danish-Iranian Ali Abbassi, which has simply been introduced on the Cannes Movie Competition (in theaters on July 13).

Although he has been writing his books in French since stone of persistence (Goncourt 2008), Atiq continues to maintain a small black pocket book in Persian each morning. “Alice calls this ritual ‘my date with myself. This permits me to not neglect my native language.” » Alice owes her first identify to the sturdy relationship her father had with the language of Molière: “On the Franco-Afghan college I entered at age 11, the primary sentence I heard in French class was: ‘Right here is Alice, she’s sleeping’. I advised myself that if I ever had a daughter, I’d identify her that. »

The author typically begins his letters with a touching ” My life “which Alice affectionately mocks: “When he says ‘my daughter,’ I hear ‘my life’ due to his accent and since he swallows the tip of the phrase. He wrote it as a present to me. » Of her father she says modestly: “It is an opportunity to have the ability to converse freely, to have an enormous library. One probability and one insanity. Artistic insanity, we see, has kind. » Atiq compares his daughter to a rhizome pricey to Deleuze: “It has no root, for a rhizome is one. Alice grows up the place she ought to, like she ought to, wild. My daughter may be who I need to be. »

featured from If solely at night time, their authors put these phrases: “In addition to the primary names, the whole lot is fictional on this guide. “Literary Coquetry”laughs Atiq, who talks a few collection of lyrics, to not ship a uncooked actuality and reinvent himself. “Studying it, I created a personality for myself, Alice factors. A personality who reads me. And I additionally grew to become a personality. Telling me that my father was studying me would have stopped me. »

From these months of epistolary exchanges, Atiq retains the impression that he has understood his daughter higher and that he has made himself higher for her. “Via these letters, we set up an invisible relationship as if writing had a lifetime of its personal regardless of us”observes the younger girl for whom the connection appears to have develop into extra grownup: “It isn’t Dad and Alice anymore. I really feel like I’ve develop into extra Alice and he extra Atiq. »

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critique

If solely at night time

D’Alice Rahimi and Atiq Rahimi

POL, 272 p., 19 €

A father and daughter write to one another. In her dialogue, Alice’s fluid model contrasts with the lyrical writing of her author father. The Afghanistan from which Atiq fled in 1984 occupies a big place in these exchanges the place it involves “the bag off” what’s the nostalgia of the nation. Alice questions, her father recounts his commitments and his journey of exile. However the dialog goes past a question-and-answer sport.

The younger girl additionally tells herself. An actress within the making, she discovers an Afghan unconscious on stage extra highly effective than she would have imagined. The phrases are positioned over a sure paternal silence, Alice’s kicks don’t forestall the tenderness in these dense exchanges that the dysfunction within the face of the pandemic and a turbulent household historical past make even richer.

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