- Series: Middle East Literature In Translation
- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Syracuse University Press (April 21, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815610475
- ISBN-13: 978-0815610472
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,846,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Torturess (Middle East Literature In Translation) Paperback – April 21, 2015
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Himmich is one of the most innovative and prolific novelists in contemporary Morocco. This is an important work of literature in a masterful translation. (Jonathan Smolin, associate professor of Arabic, Dartmouth College Jonathan Smolin, associate professor of Arabic, Dartmouth College)
A rich and poignant portrait of the psychological and mental effects of incarceration and torture on innocent victims. . . . A brilliant and accurate rendition of the versatile and original Arabic in lucid, lively and captivating English. (Ahmed Idrissi Alami, Purdue University Ahmed Idrissi Alami, Purdue University)
The English translation of Mu'Adhdhibati, one of four novels shortlisted by the Arabic Booker prize in 2011. A tale of the "extraordinary rendition" of a young Moroccan bookseller falsely accused of being a jihadist.
Top customer reviews
The story follows Hamuda, a bookseller from Morocco, after he is “arrested” and interred in an unknown place in horrific conditions. There he is held without trial whilst experiencing unspeakable and unthinkable acts of violence both physical and psychological.
Whilst this is a work of fiction, it does make you wonder and question how much is actually close to the truth of what really happens with “prisoners” who go through the practice of rendition and how far Governments will go to garner information. How those “prisoners” survive, even if they undergo only half of what Hamuda did, is beyond me.
As I said, a difficult book to read but one which is thought-provoking with a lot of talking points.
Thank you to the publisher, Syracuse University Press, for providing me with a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This story is quite Kafkaesque and at times almost dreamlike, as it is not until near the end we find out how long Hamuda is incarcerated for. At times with certain incidents, and the free movement at certain periods of Hamuda I did get a sort of reminiscent feeling of ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. With no trial or even proper arrest Hamuda finds that he is being accused of murder, smuggling, endangering lives, and other offences as time goes on. But this is just a pretext, as really what is wanted is information on Hamuda’s cousin and his terrorist activities. Indeed any crime committed by Hamuda can be wiped clean, all he has to do is give details about his cousin (although we never really know if Hamuda knows that much), and become an informer.
Taking in water boarding and other acts of torture, both physical and psychological this is a hard hitting read, and makes us think of what does go on all behind the banner of National Security. As we see Muslims forced to eat pork, buggered, and being placed under the control of women we see how their beliefs and identity are attacked. At the same time though this book also brings to us the problems of racism, anti-Semitism, and women’s emancipation, as well as religious intolerance and fundamentalism, and politics. Lest we forget, those who commit atrocities under the banner of religion are not out to offer you a free and democratic society; they have been fed false information so that one person can in effect run a dictatorship.
This is a thought provoking read that is quite philosophical and whilst being unsettling and memorable has a lot to offer to anyone. This is a book that would definitely be a great read by book groups as you have so much to discuss here, and I am sure, as it becomes better known will definitely be read by many. What I did find inspiring was Hamuda and how he survives what he goes through, offering us a glimpse of hope and that this is yet another stage in history that will eventually just be a page in a text book to future generations.
I was kindly provided with a review copy of this by the publisher via NetGalley.