Farid Tali

Translated by Aditi Machado

ISBN: 978-0-9898048-6-8
Release Date: December 15, 2016

“I couldn’t get used to the idea that this process might come to a halt. Of course, it was better for the limbs of this body that the dismantling cease. They could rest now that they had arrived at an adequate state of arrest. But this was to neglect the deathlessness of death. That death can destroy even one who no longer exists.”

The corpse, according to Julia Kristeva, is “a border that has encroached upon everything.” This is the horizon line of Farid Tali’s novel Prosopopoeia, the body, hovering just above the page and dropping text as it decomposes. This is a story of slow death, the attrition of AIDS, the wearing-out of narcotics, and the fascination of putrescence. Aditi Machado’s translation encourages the Gallic periodicity of Tali’s sentences to unfurl, beguiling the reader into a zone “at the frontier of silence.”

“Out of the decaying body, Farid Tali has wrought song. Every sentence surprises, adding up to an exquisite book unlike any other.”

—Maggie Nelson

“In lines so lush they verge on grotesque, the body and its beauty are rendered by Farid Tali. As ‘render’ means to depict but also separate flesh from its bone so too does this elegiac novel dismantle the barriers of memory, romanticism and predetermination to illuminate the ragged beauty of a body in transition out of itself and into what is void. Is death beautiful? If beauty rages, shocks, evanesces, then it must be. Aditi Machado makes a stark, dark French into tight, lean English, taut as a string that when plucked must sing. A brief novel that only seems to drift lightly like a musical air; in reality it will settle down heavy in your bones and haunt you a long, long time.”

—Kazim Ali


Farid Tali was born in 1977. A French writer of Moroccan descent, his first book was a journal written in collaboration with Renaud Camus, called Incomparable (1999). His first solo work Prosopopée was published by Éditions P.O.L. in 2001. Salim Jay, in his Dictionnaire des écrivains marocains (Dictionary of Moroccan Writers), writes that “on reading Tali, one thinks of those words by Nietzsche in Humain trop humain: “…and life, at the very least, was not invented by morality.” This is Tali’s first appearance in the English language.


Aditi Machado is an Indian poet and translator. Her first book of poems, Some Beheadings, will be published by Nightboat Books in 2017. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Route: Marienbad (Further Other Book Works, 2016) and The Robing of the Bride (Dzanc Books, 2013). She edits poetry in translation for Asymptote.