Kamel Al Riahi’s “The gorilla”
“The gorilla” is a novel that looks into the impact of the Ben Ali era on the Tunisian society. The revolution is literally at the heart of this novel, but it’s not its main topic, as much as it is the story of this young black man, nicknamed ‘Gorilla’. ‘Gorilla’ may be the igniter of the revolution, when he decides one day to climb up the Tower Clock, symbol of Ben Ali’s dominance, but the novel focuses on this character’s despair, and through him, that of a whole segment of the Tunisian society, the poor, the marginal, and the powerless. Gorilla’s climbing of the tower is the story’s opening, and the incident that shapes the novel, a narrative interrupted by the introduction of new characters, and held together by a man hanging from a Tower Clock.