The most popular video on my Youtube is the heated discussion between Disiz la Peste and two absolute pests; Zemmour & Ruquier. On September 12th 2009, the rapper Disiz appears on the set of the French show « On n’est pas couché » to promote his first novel Les derniers de la rue Ponty.
In the sequence, we quickly realize that a debate on inequalities in France stole the book’s limelight.
When I wrote my first article about it, I thought I was well informed. In fact, I made the same mistake that Disiz made; I tried to analyze the format of the show and I forgot to talk about the book. Let me confess that I actually hadn’t read the book back then. Well, that was before last week. I didn’t read nor devoured the book, I have simply savored it.
The story of la rue Ponty
Les derniers de la rue Ponty tells the story of Gabriel, a young man who claims to be an angel. In quest of redemption, Gabriel patrols Dakar in search of two souls to save. He first comes across Salie, a beautiful mixed-raced girl with whom he falls in love. He then quickly meets the desperate look of Emma, a white lady who drowns her pain in whisky.
What can I say about the book?
I opened the book. I didn’t know what to expect but I soon found a short passage that made the rest promising. I found this sentence on Chapter 1, page 2: « When tears commit suicide by throwing themselves off the corner of eyelid… »
I’m not an easy reader, but with this sentence I was quickly seduced.
I smiled… during and after my reading of Les derniers de la rue Ponty. I like the book. I also found it annoying. Bitter-sweet. I thought I was the only to note down similarities between this book and the movie 7 pounds (featuring Will Smith) before reading a comment left by tismeANGOLANO on Sérigne’s blog.
Sérigne? Yes, let me clarify. The real name of Disiz la Peste is Sérigne M’baye Gueye, and he chose to publish his novel under this name. So yes, I like Sérigne’s writing style. Some big spirits find it too simplistic, but I’m tired of elaborated books, devoid of humanity. His penning is not perfect and some of his assertions are arguable. But sometimes it feels good to stay away from 1000-pages books with an irrefutable but irritating logic. It’s only his first novel after all.
A mixed-race who builds ties with Africa
I’ve met a couple of people who have at least one African parent. Generally blinded by the media propaganda, some of these individuals have so mush disdain for Africa that it becomes pathetic. Conversely, I’m impressed with biracial individuals like Disiz – born and raised by a non-African parent – who are proud to talk about their origins. President O’Bama has always intrigued me because of this similar quest of identity.
I would like to say more but I don’t want to be like these people who tell you the end of a movie before you start watching it. All I can say is that I could totally relate to this book.
I have my foot in America, the culture soaked in Europe and my soul lost somewhere in Africa. I’m totally lost. Like Gabriel. Like Sérigne.
I often have a hard time expressing my cultural instability, which is the raison d’être of this blog. I can’t even explain it. When I talk, people look me as if I were crazy. When I read books like these, I realize that I’m not alone in a delirious state. Sérigne found how to leak the ink on my thoughts. Disiz a Thank You.