Breyten Breytenbach

'Mouroir' and 'Voice Over,' both by Breyten Breytenbach

Mouroir Mirrornotes of a Novel Breyten Breytenbach Archipelago Books: 280 pp., $15 paper Voice Over A Nomadic Conversation With Mahmoud Darwish Breyten Breytenbach Archipelago Books: 46 pp., $9 paper After all, the past is not personal. The word "mouroir," a combination of the French "mourir" (to die) and "miroir" (mirror), describes a journey beyond the prison of the self, the frame of the mirror. Breyten Breytenbach -- poet, painter, translator, writer -- dreamed this novel while in prison. Its very creation turned the notion of prison inside out -- as well as, along the way, the notion of self. Leaping high boundaries in a single bound is...