For this Saturday’s Book Club, we will be reading Tayeb Salih’s “Season of Migration to the North”. One reviewer says that “woven into the brief text is a dense tracery of allusions to Arabic and European fiction, Islamic history, Shakespeare, Freud, and classical Arabic poetry—a corpus that haunts all his writing. Salih packed an entire library into this slim masterpiece.” (NY Review of Books). It will be an exciting discussion and everyone is welcome this Saturday, 28 Jan, at 1:00 pm in Room 1.
You are a student, a scholar, or a tourist in Fez? You are interested in Moroccan fiction? Come to ALC ALIF Bookstore to discover our rich collection of Tahar Ben Jelloun’s books.
Tahar Ben Jelloun, ”Morocco’s greatest living author” The Guardian
Since she’s been ill, Lalla Fatma has become a frail little thing with a faltering memory.
Lalla Fatma thinks she’s in Fez in 1944, where she grew up, not in Tangier in 2000, where this story begins. She calls out to family members who are long dead and loses herself in the streets of her childhood, yearning for her first love and the city she left behind.
By her bedside, her son Tahar listens to long-hidden secrets and stories from her past: married while still playing with dolls and widowed for the first time at the age of sixteen. Guided by these fragments, Tahar vividly conjures his mother’s life in post-war Morocco, unravelling the story of a woman for whom resignation was the only way out.
Tender and compelling, About My Mother maps the beautiful, fragile and complex nature of human experience, while paying tribute to a remarkable woman and the bond between mother and son.
In The Happy Marriage, the internationally acclaimed Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the story of one couple—first from the husband’s point of view, then from the wife’s—just as legal reforms are about to change women’s rights forever.
The husband, a painter in Casablanca, has been paralyzed by a stroke at the very height of his career and becomes convinced that his marriage is the sole reason for his decline.
Walled up within his illness and desperate to break free of a deeply destructive relationship, he finds escape in writing a secret book about his hellish marriage. When his wife finds it, she responds point by point with her own version of the facts, offering her own striking and incisive reinterpretation of their story.
Who is right and who is wrong? A thorny issue in a society where marriage remains a sacrosanct institution, but where there’s also a growing awareness of women’s rights. And in their absorbing struggle, both sides of this modern marriage find out they may not be so enlightened after all.
Title: By Fire
Author: Tahar Ben Jelloun
Tahar Ben Jelloun’s By Fire, the first fictional account published on the Arab Spring, reimagines the true-life self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, an event that has been credited with setting off the Tunisian revolt. The novella depicts the days leading up to Bouazizi’s self-immolation. Ben Jelloun’s deliberate ambiguity about the location of the story, set in an unnamed Islamic country, allows the reader to imagine the experiences and frustrations of other young men who have endured physical violence and persecution in places beyond Tunisia. The tale begins and ends in fire, and the imagery of burning frames the political accounts in The Spark, Ben Jelloun’s nonfiction writings on the Tunisian events that provide insight into the despotic regimes that drove Bouazizi to such despair. Rita S. Nezami’s elegant translations and critical introduction provide the reader with multiple strategies for approaching these potent texts.
Title: This Blinding Absence of Light
Author: Tahar Ben Jelloun
An immediate and critically acclaimed bestseller in France, This Blinding Absence of Light is the latest work by internationally renowned author Tahar Ben Jelloun, the first North African winner of the Prix Goncourt and winner of the Prix Mahgreb. Crafting real life events into narrative fiction, Ben Jelloun reveals the horrific story of the desert concentration camps in which King Hassan II of Morocco held his political enemies in underground cells with no light and only enough food and water to keep them lingering on the edge of death. Working closely with one of the survivors, Ben Jelloun narrates the story in the simplest of language and delivers a shocking novel that explores both the limitlessness of inhumanity and the impossible endurance of the human will.
In this novel, award-winning, internationally bestselling author Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the story of a Moroccan brother and sister making new lives for themselves in Spain. Azel is a young man in Tangier who dreams of crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. When he meets Miguel, a wealthy Spaniard, he leaves behind his girlfriend, his sister, Kenza, and his mother, and moves with him to Barcelona, where Kenza eventually joins them. What they find there forms the heart of this novel of seduction and betrayal, deception and disillusionment, in which Azel and Kenza are reminded powerfully not only of where they’ve come from, but also of who they really are.
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Our Book Club is continuing an exploration of books by Moroccan authors. This week, it’s Laylá Abū Zayd’s novella, “Year of the Elephant: A Moroccan Woman’s Journey Toward Independence”, in which a personal and family crisis impells the story’s heroine to reexamine traditional cultural attitudes toward women. Everyone is welcome to take part in our lively discussion this Saturday, 21 January, at 1:00 pm in Room 1.
ALC-ALIF Book Club: Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1 PM in Room 1
This week we will read a very early example of satire in literature, a text called “The Instructions of Dua-Khety” or “Satire of Trades”, written 4000 years ago in Egypt. Join us as we explore this ancient text together.
The link below has an English translation of the text:
ALC-ALIF Book Club: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1 PM in Room 1
This week we will be reading a work by the first winner of the Arabic Booker Prize: the Egyptian author Bahaa Taher, who won in 2008. We will read his short story, “Advice from a Sensible Young Man”.
Everyone is welcome for an exciting discussion of Egypt, its politics and literature.
ALC-ALIF Book Club: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 PM in Room 1
While the rest of the world has its eye on the USA this week for political reasons, the Book Club will be reading the first U.S. prize winner of the UK’s Booker Award: Paul Beatty and his novel, “The Sellout”. Join us this Saturday at 1:00 pm in Room 1 to discuss this work of ‘comic genius’.
Link to the Guardian article about Paul Beatty:
ALC-ALIF Book Club: Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 PM in Room 1
Bob Dylan, the Nobel prize winning author, is the subject of our Book Club gathering this Saturday. We will read and discuss the lyrics of some of his top songs including, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall” and “Tangled Up In Blue”. Read them at this link:
Join us this coming Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1:00 pm in Room 1, to discuss the short stories of O’Henry. We will be focusing on two stories, “The Last Leaf” and “The Gift of the Magi”…here’s a link to the text:
ALC-ALIF Book Club: Saturday, 15 Oct. at 1 PM in Room 1
This Saturday, We will be reading a short story by Anton Chekhov, “The Bet.” Join us for an exciting discussion about this remarkable story about the meaning of life, and about whether the death penalty is right or wrong. We will also watch a video that brings the short story to life! Here is the link for the story:http://