This article offers a new reading of Driss Chraïbi's novel Une Enquête au pays (1981), focusing in particular on the term "enquête" from its title. While the novel's protagonists do indeed conduct a police "investigation," it quickly becomes clear that Chraïbi too is conducting a "search" in this novel—both for the autochthonous ways of being, knowing, and doing from which colonial education and French acculturation have severed him and for ways to expose and heal the wounds of Morocco's "Years of Lead." Using theoretical texts by Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Abdellatif Laâbi, and D. A. Miller, I argue that Enquête repurposes the conventions of the roman policier to offer a critique of Enlightenment and its violent colonial and postcolonial aftermath. On the one hand, Chraïbi paints a fantastical portrait of autochthonous identity that remains illegible to state forms of knowing and control. On the other hand, he recognizes that, by prying into the minds of his supposedly unknowable Amazigh characters, the author too can become like the police.


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pp. 198-218
Launched on MUSE
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