Analysis of The Old Eye by Mohammed Achaari

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Plot Summary 

The Old Eye, a novel by Mohammed Achaari was published in 2019 in Arabic language

A novel by the Moroccan novelist and writer Muhammad Al-Ashari , winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. It was titled " The Old Eye ." The events of the novel revolve between real life and imagined life, from oppression in a small village, to a new life in Casablanca, then immigration and reconciliation with the world, then returning to “Casa” from which no one recovers. The protagonist, Masoud, is a sixty-year-old man who has a sudden desire to kill, driven to do so by other contradictory desires and glorious losses over decades. In his sessions with his psychiatrist, or in his conversation with his “other” friend, or his daughter Mona, and before that, his partner Helen; He reveals the secrets of an entire life, which are merely a series of illusions and successive memories that become part of the future, haunting him like endless curses.

Fear, regret, mistrust, corruption, the desire to kill, and revenge for a dark past. This is how the writer narrates the life of Masoud, which is intertwined with his city, the inactive leftist, coming from the 1968 revolution in Paris, and the beginning of the seventies, the quiet, slow father, who sanctifies ease, but does not hesitate to utter his cry. Like a bird whose wings were broken a long time ago.

The novel "The Old Eye" is the novel of an entire generation that was damaged and unable to touch dreams that were bigger than itself.


 Trauma and its lingering effects: Masoud's violent impulse was rooted in past experiences, possibly from his childhood in a small village or other unspecified events. The novel explores how trauma can manifest in unexpected ways and the challenges of confronting a difficult past.

 Memory and its unreliability: The narrative shifts between real and imagined experiences, showing that Masoud's memories were subjective and shaped by his emotional state. The novel explores the complexities of memory and how it shapes our perception of the past.

 Loss and the search for meaning: The novel mentions "glorious losses" and Masoud's struggle to reconcile his past dreams with his present reality. This are themes of loss, disillusionment, and the search for meaning in a life that has not  turned out as planned.

 The burden of the past on a generation: The novel depicts Masoud as part of a generation that was "damaged" and unable to achieve its aspirations. This is the theme of collective disillusionment and the impact of historical events on individual lives.

 The desire for revenge and its consequences: Masoud's urge to kill hints at a desire for revenge, possibly connected to past injustices. The novel also explores the destructive nature of revenge and the difficulty of finding closure. 

 The struggle for reconciliation: The protagonist wrestles with his past through sessions with a psychiatrist and conversations with loved ones. This is the theme of reconciliation, both with oneself and potentially with others who have been wronged.


 Masoud: The protagonist, a 60-year-old man grappling with a sudden urge to kill. The story revolves around his sessions with a psychiatrist and his internal struggles. 

 Psychiatrist:  helps Masoud understand the roots of his violent impulse and navigate his emotional turmoil.

 Other friend:  someone Masoud confides in, possibly a close friend or confidante.

 Daughter Mona:  Represents a familial connection for Masoud.

 Partner Helen:  Mentioned as someone from Masoud's past, possibly a romantic partner.



 A small village: This is where  Masoud experienced significant events in his youth, possibly contributing to his trauma.

 Casablanca, Morocco: The novel mentions Masoud returning to "Casa,"  a period of his life spent in Casablanca. 

 Masoud's mind: The narrative seems to shift between real and imagined experiences. Masoud's internal world and memories might be a significant setting, shaping his perception of the present.

Literary Styles 

 Psychological exploration: The focus on Masoud's internal struggle, trauma, and sessions with a psychiatrist suggest a delve into his psyche. This leans towards a psychological literary style.

 Stream of consciousness: The shifting between real and imagined experiences hints at a stream of consciousness style, where the narrative reflects the unfiltered flow of thoughts and memories.

 Social commentary: The references to a generation damaged by historical events and Masoud's background as an "inactive leftist" suggest a potential social commentary embedded in the narrative. This could be woven into the exploration of Masoud's experiences.

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