- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (January 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1620402246
- ISBN-13: 978-1620402245
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,389,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Harraga Hardcover – January 13, 2015
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"[A] masterly investigation of evil, resistance and guilt . . . Perfectly rendered . . . Perceptive . . . An absorbing and all too relevant novel for our times." ―Publishers Weekly on THE GERMAN MUJAHID
"In the literature of reckoning there is a special place of honor for the work of Boualem Sansal, particularly for his extraordinary novel The German Mujahid . . . Unsparing . . . Uncompromising . . . Keen to bear witness . . . A genuinely brave book . . . When I read Sansal, I recall [Camus] . . . Camus would recognize his themes in Boualem Sansal, and their shared love of the land, and their panic and dread before its terrible beauty and its ferocious sun. ―The New Republic on THE GERMAN MUJAHID
"Humane, searching and audacious . . . It poses profound questions . . . This is [Sansal's] first [book] to be translated into English. One hopes the rest will follow." ―The Guardian
"Eye-opening . . . Runs headlong into one of the Arab world's deepest taboos . . . with admirable vigour and courage." ―The Independent
About the Author
Boualem Sansal was born in 1949 in Algeria. Once a government official, he lost his post over criticism of Islamist policies. His first novel, published when he was fifty years old, won the Best First Novel Prize in France, and Sansal was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2011. He has previously been nominated for the Nobel Prize. Sansal's books have been translated into fifteen languages, butThe German Mujahid was his first to be translated into English, also by Frank Wynne (published in the UK asAn Unfinished Business). He has called Harraga his best novel. Sansal's writings are banned in Algeria, where he continues to live with his family.
Frank Wynne's many translations have won the IMPAC, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the Scott Moncrieff Prize. He lives in London.
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Her brother befriends a sixteen year old girl, Cherifa, who is pregnant and sends her to Lamia to live until the birth of the child. Lamia is single, childless and takes Cherifa in as her own child. Their relationship has ups and downs whereby Cherifa leaves before her child is born. Lamia is summoned to a convent to find the fate of Cherifa and the baby. Cherifa and the child create an opportunity for Lamia to burn a new path for herself.
"His lips flecked with spittle, he harangued us with verses ripped from the Qur'an and baleful threats from the terrorists' handbook. Since the situation called for spinelessnes, the other men puffed out their chests and began spouting suras like suicide bombers. Ever since, I've been traumatized, I keep asking myself: does Islam produce true believers, craven cowards, or just terrorists? There is no easy answer since all three are talented actors."
"Better to be a prisoner who is free inside her head, I thought, than a jailer who is prisoner of his keys and besides, it is good and necessary that there should be a wall between freedom and imprisonment. In doing so, I joined the most reviled mob in the Islamic world, the company of free, independent women"
"But the days are long and dreams are not easy. In the course of life, you lose so much. You find yourself alone with tattered memories, dusty habits, worthless treasures, outmoded words, with dates that hang mindlessly on the legs of time, with ghosts that merge with shadows, landmarks that have blurred, remote stories. You replace what you can, surround yourself with new bits and pieces, but your heart is no longer in it and that colours what little life remains."
"Nothing moves the bureaucrats in this country. They would happily send each other to the gallows if it were a matter of sharing out three lean cutlets. Insipid and underpaid, they drift toward crime as naturally as soap suds flow towards a drain."
Sansal is a scathing critic of Algerian society.He hates the country's ruling class who he sees as a bunch of venal crooks.He dislikes their main opposition , the Islamists even more.Arab family structure is shown as oppressive and religion here is not a force for the good.Men are generally contemptible .They have been raised since childhood to use and abuse women.The best of them are bumbling and childish.Although women aren't much better.They tend to be either government hacks or narrow minded enforcers of repressive traditions.
Unsurprisingly , this is not an upbeat novel.Sansal believes in love but knows it doesn't conquer all or even much.Algeria is a failed state and Islam isn't going to fix anything.he writes with strange respect for a gro.up of Catholic nuns.But they are peripheral to this hopeless society.There is no happy ending and I don't think Sansal thinks there can be.