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The Last Friend Paperback – January 30, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Rep Tra edition (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143038486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143038481
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

What Ben Jelloun does brilliantly is write with a kind of refreshing candor that demystifies the Arab world. (Paris Voice)

A profound and moving novel. (Le Monde)

Daring and introspective, The Last Friend should bring [Ben Jelloun] the wide readership that has eluded him in this country. (The Nation)

Absorbing, like a meditation, a trance. (The Daily Telegraph, London)

…a seductive, lyrical novel exploring the seeming betrayal of a lifelong friendship (French Book News)

About the Author

Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in Fez, Morocco, and immigrated to France in 1961. A novelist, essayist, critic, and poet, he is a regular contributor to Le Monde, La Républica, El País, and Panorama.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down!!
TiffT
Captivating novel about the trials and tribulations of a life-long friendship in a country torn apart by colonialism that really hit home.
Ramble_On
Like many things in life there are always more than one perspective and this book accurately represents these concepts.
DeMon58

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 26, 2008
Friendship is very important to me, and this slim novel by Moroccan writer Ben Jelloun is an eloquent inquiry into its nature and limits. Ali and Mamed (Mohammed) first meet as children at a French school in Tangier in the early 1960s, and each narrates half the book. Ali goes first, establishing the history of their friendship, their shared interests (film, literature, girls), romantic conquests, travel abroad for university, arrest for suspected subversion, marriages, and Mamed's relocation to Sweden. From the opening pages, the reader it told that there has been a rupture in their friendship, and the section climaxes with a confusing and infuriating conversation between the two that appears to mark this ending.

This is immediately followed by Mamed's section, which returns to the start of their friendship to retell its history from his perspective. Rather than contradicting Ali's account, Mamed's story adds depth and texture to their relationship -- including his heavily conflicted feelings about leaving behind his native country. It is Mamed who encapsulates the central "problem" of such close friendship, when on page 131 he says "We were two open books. We could see right through each other, and deep down I didn't want that." And as his version of the story progresses, we learn of the secret he's kept from Ali, which is the basis of their schism.

Through this friendship and it's dissolution, Ben Jelloun explores the nature of jealousy and loyalty. Of particular interest is their friendship in relation to their marriages -- neither is wholly satisfied by marriage, and their intelligent wives are jealous of their friendship.
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By Ramble_On on November 24, 2009
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Captivating novel about the trials and tribulations of a life-long friendship in a country torn apart by colonialism that really hit home. It made me call my own friendships into question, and contemplate how our manifestations of both jealousy and loyalty towards others can be gravely misunderstood. I liked the short 2-3 page chapters, and this combined with a modest choice of vocabulary (although sometimes a little vulgar) made it a very quick read for me.
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I highly recommend this book to everyone! It is a well thought out book, put into words that are fluid and easy to read. The translation was excellent! Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down!! Knowing a little bit about Moroccan culture and history makes it easier to understand, because there are alot of references throughout. I like the way it was written from the point of view from each friend. One can read this and reflect on a friendship that they have or may have had. Mr. Jelloun does an excellent job captivating the reader and making you feel like you're part of his world. I felt a variety of emtions while reading The Last Friend. I'm so glad I got the chance to read this, I think it is a must for everyone!
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