They Call Me Deranged

Original title: Dérangé que je suis

Author: Zamir, Ali

Publication Date:

January 2019



Original language and publisher

French | Le Tripode

Territories Handled

Netherlands, Nordic Countries


Literary Fiction

They Call Me Deranged

Original title: Dérangé que je suis

Author: Zamir, Ali

  • 2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic and English (USA & Canada) Rights.
  • Selected for the Grand Prix RTL – LIRE 2019


“This winter, when French literature prides itself on being neurasthenic and addicted to serotonin, the hottest writing comes from the Comoro Islands” — Jérôme Garcin, L’Obs

“Ali Zamir is distorting, breaching, subverting the rules of the French language, all the way from its despised fringes, in order to question it and open it up” — Le Monde

A whirlwind of a novel, part a philosophical tale, part a farce and a drama, which reveals a powered-up and unusual story. A real joy to read!

On the Island of Anjouan, Deranged is a humble docker. Pushing his patched-up cart and wearing rags, he simply tries to find daily work in order to eat. However, one morning, while looking for a new job, Deranged crosses paths with a woman so stunning that “a storm wreaked havoc everywhere she went”. Hired by this woman in an absurd duel against the Pipipi (the evil trio of the dockers named Pirate, Pistol and Pity), this wretched man’s life is turned upside down.

Ali Zamir confirms the very special place he holds in francophone literature, his gift for the incongruous tales and his use of rare words. His language’s vitality totally serves the tragi-comic story of this poor docker. The powerful mix of genres and the dynamism of the uninterrupted scenes create an impetuous cinematographic novel.

They Call Me Deranged give us the certainty that we have found a new Pagnol on an Indian Ocean island.

“Throughout my life, a dog’s life, I’ve always troubled those who can’t bear tidy lives. Well, at least, that’s what I’ve always  thought, since it’s been pointed out to me. How can you explain that some people couldn’t bear seeing me, or even hearing about me, just because I had a special outfit depending on what day of the week it was? Why, exactly, would my rags disturb them? Maybe this is the first thing I should mention so that you get a better picture of me, “Deranged”, as I was called in.”

Ali Zamir was born in 1987 on the Comoro Islands. He presently lives in Montpellier. At the Tripode, he wrote A Girl Called Eel (Anguille sous roche, 2016 special mention from the prix Wepler and the prix Senghor) and My Spark (Mon Étincelle, 2017). They Call Me Deranged is his third novel.

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