A Girl Called Eel
Aneesa Abbas Higgins
Jacaranda Books Art Music
Anguille is a 17-year-old girl who leaves her rock on the archipelago of Comoros to lose herself at sea. She drifts between two states of mind and between two islands ‘in a hollow maze’, evoking her memories so as to forget nothing and so as to delay the inevitable outcome.
Confronted with the pressing immediacy of imminent death, Anguille recounts the story of her whole life in one long, sustained breath, in a series of brief couplets.
But what Anguille recounts, in an assured voice which heralds a shipwreck, is also something other than her life – something much deeper below the ground, or rather the sea, which has to do with the species and what is immemorial. It is the story of a fight for survival in which everyone becomes a predator.
A story told in a single sentence, A Girl Called Eel is a memorial, a reckoning, and a powerful narrative imbued with a prevailing sense of urgency.
Ali Zamir was born on Anjouan in the Comoros. He studied French Literature at the University of Cairo and attained his Master’s degree from there in 2010. He has since returned to Anjouan where he has been the Director of Culture and Cooperative Activities for the island since 2014. First published in French as Anguille sous roche by Le Tripode in 2016, A Girl Called Eel is his first novel.