Let Tomorrow Be Fine
Life stories plaited together
The third novel by Abdelkader Benali, Let Tomorrow Be Fine, is about Malik Ben, sent by his father on a cruise after his mother has died. During the trip the young man falls under the spell of a Spanish beauty; at her request, he leaves her with her brother in Tanger, while himself continuing his journey to his parents’ home country, to find out whatever possessed his father to become a spy. He returns home cleansed, to find that his father has died. He is warmly welcomed by his father’s new widow. He follows his father’s last wish, establishing an Institute for the Soul, and becomes himself an authenticity healer. Many years and kilos later he decides finally to lead his own life.
Told like this the story is straightforward; it is anything but. The cruise is already in the past when the novel starts ‘Malik Ben weighed 140 kilos the day he decided to have his name deleted from the yellow pages.’ He decides to stop both his soul practice and his overeating. He remembers the life lessons of the ‘Spanish beauty’ and his mind takes him back to SS Latina. The rest of the novel switches between the cruise and the soul practice, between his parents’ life story and that of the Spanish girl, with the life story of Juan the bartender thrown in.
The clever structure and plot make Let Tomorrow Be Fine very special. On the one hand there is the cruise, on the other the main character’s odd profession of authenticity healer. There is the life story of his parents and that of the Spanish Beauty he meets during the cruise who teaches him not to search for the meaning of life, rather to use the entire space of life.
The narrative layers correspond with the thematic layers. The novel can be read as the story of a son who leaves his parents’ home, weighs anchor and sails his own course. At the same time it is a declaration of intent by an author who states that he is going to do what nobody expects, ‘Something very simple and yet grand’. That he has succeeded, is clear.