Of Wood and Clay by Mohammed Achaari

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Plot Summary 

"Of Wood and Clay" by Mohammed Achaari is published in 2021 in the Arabic language.

Abraham, a man who decides at a certain moment to change his intuitive path in life, as it is predetermined for the masses. He gives up his prestigious job at the bank, leaves the city, divorces his wife (his co-worker) coldly, and takes refuge in a quiet place next to the Maamoura Forest in Morocco. 

There, where he takes care of beekeeping, he meets an injured hedgehog, because of which he gets to know the veterinarian Brigitte, and signs of a love relationship appear that he fears will take him back to the traps of the city. He is coming from a cloudy area inside himself, fleeing to the suburbs, believing that the status of life lies in life itself, and not in the things that crowd into it. 

What is necessary, and what is excess? In a language that leans on this dialectic, Muhammad Al-Ashari’s novel “From Wood and Clay” focuses on the minutest matters, on those details and small beings, which we never believe will change our lives, but they do, just as the hedgehog “Yansi” does. 

It is also a novel about the forest with its trees and water, with its darkness and desolation, this missing piece in our souls, and before that about human greed, intertwined destinies, and stories that grow like a forest.


 Escape and Self-discovery: Abraham's decision to leave his city life for the solitude of the forest reflects a desire to escape the pressures of society and reconnect with himself. The forest becomes a space for him to question his previous life and search for a more meaningful existence.

 Human Connection vs. Isolation:  While Abraham seeks refuge in nature, the encounter with Brigitte suggests a tension between his desire for solitude and the human need for connection. The hedgehog, Yansi, might also play a role in exploring this theme, possibly prompting Abraham to open up to new relationships.

 Finding Purpose: The central question about what is necessary and what is excess suggests a search for purpose. By stripping away the materialism of city life, Abraham might be reevaluating his priorities and what truly brings him fulfillment.

 Connection with Nature: The forest is more than just a backdrop; it seems to be a source of healing and renewal for Abraham. The act of beekeeping further strengthens this connection to the natural world.

 Fate and Free Will: The summary mentions "predetermined path" which hints at a possible theme of fate versus free will. Abraham's decision to change his life suggests a rebellion against a predetermined path, but the question of how much control he has over his encounters with Brigitte and Yansi remains to be seen.


 Abraham: The protagonist, a man who decides to radically alter his life by leaving his comfortable city job and wife to live a solitary life in the forest near Maamoura Forest in Morocco. He seems dissatisfied with his previous life and seeks meaning through self-discovery in nature.

 Brigitte: A veterinarian whom Abraham meets after finding an injured hedgehog.  Her introduction suggests a potential romantic interest for Abraham, creating a conflict between his desire for solitude and the possibility of connection.

 Yansi: The injured hedgehog that acts as a catalyst for Abraham's encounter with Brigitte.  Yansi's presence might symbolize the potential for connection and the disruption of Abraham's isolated life.

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