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A Life Full of Holes: A Novel Recorded and Translated by Paul Bowles Paperback – December 16, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (December 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061565296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061565298
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,557,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Arabic (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark Terrill on January 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Paul Bowles first began translating the stories of contemporary native Moroccans in 1952, transcribing by hand the tales of Ahmed Yacoubi, several of which appeared in Evergreen Review. In the early 1960's, with the aid of a tape recorder, Bowles decided to pursue the preservation of Maghrebi oral literature. This decision was prompted in part by Bowles' acquaintance with Larbi Layachi, a young Moroccan who was working as a watchman at a café at nearby Merkala Beach. Layachi, although illiterate and not a "storyteller" in the true Arabic tradition, proved to be a master of the tautly spun narrative, and his story, obviously nothing more than thinly veiled autobiography, is told with the same stark, unembellished point of view that formed the basis of the Italian neo-realist cinema, yet virtually without pathos, sentimentality or moralizing of any sort. Basically left to fend for himself at the age of eight, Layachi works a series of jobs as shepherd, baker's helper, laborer, watchman, houseboy to a "Nazarene" gay couple, and as a petty trafficker in kif in the rough-and-tumble streets of Tangier at the cusp of post-colonialism, eventually winding up in jail, sentenced to hard labor in a rock quarry. Adversity raises its Medusa-like head on every other page, in the form of betrayal, denunciation, false accusations, uninformed decisions, corruption, or just plain bad luck, of which Layachi obviously had a very generous helping.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tyger Flynn on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We understand this as the first novel of a simple man - who chose the pen name Driss Ben Ahmed Charadi - when this book first came out. It is a credit to Paul Bowles to have recognized the brilliance of the natural story-teller that was Larbi - and the worth of the story he was willing to share (albeit not 'quite' autobiographical).

More interesting is the subsequent story of Larbi Layachi - in his eventual emigration to the US where I met him in the early 70's as a cook in San Francisco. That story - his true biography - linked to the stories he was able to compose - would give us a far more insightful 'view' of the dusty streets of the world Larbi knew in the land of his birth.

Sadly, that story is hidden now, but it would have been a worthy one to hear. I wish Paul Bowles had told that story, too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
here. it's simply a great book, in the introduction i believe paul bowles mentions that a great narrator keeps his narrative thread equally taut at all times and this is precisely what the authour has done. the book is a compelling view of a life in a part of the world that differs wildly from where i was born, told with a coolness that should not be mistaken for detachment. it's a rewarding read and it hleps when trying to put things in perspective.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim F. Baughman on September 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful, spare story that illuminates life in a very poor culture. It's not often that we get to see, from street level, an exotic world that hasn't been scrubbed clean and fancified for the mindless tourist. I suspect the impact of the story is due as much to Bowles's translation as the storyteller himself. It was a little disappointing to learn that the author, Driss Ben Hamed Charhadi, later moved to the United States.
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