Laila Amine deposited Double Exposure: The Family Album and Alternate Memories in Leïla Sebbar’s The Seine was Red in the group LLC 20th- and 21st-Century French on MLA Commons 7 years, 5 months ago
Amine’s essay explores memory-making and highlights a paradox in
Leı¨la Sebbar’s The Seine was Red, a novel that describes the conflicting memories of the police massacre of Algerians in Paris on 17 October 1961. Structured as a family album with captioned identities, place, and time, Sebbar’s novel employs a mode of remembrance that conventionally illuminates the unity of families.
Instead, the text emphasizes conflict among diverse protagonists (French and Algerian participants and witnesses on both side of the Algerian war and their descendants) and absences with blank pages that evoke missing testimonies. In reversing the general tenor of the family genre to narrate an imperial tragedy, Amine argues that The Seine exposes the often linear, consensus-driven narrative of community that obliterates inglorious events, which states as well as families adopt as they suppress internal conflict in the representation of their past. In opposition to these exclusionary and homogeneous narratives constructed by select actors, The Seine offers a commemorative model that is inclusionary, dissonant, and participatory.