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Children of the New World

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Assia Djebar, one of the most distinguished woman writers to emerge from the Arab world, wrote Children of the New World following her own involvement in the Algerian resistance to colonial French rule. Like the classic film The Battle of Algiers—enjoying renewed interest in the face of world events—Djebar’s novel sheds light on current world conflicts as it reveals a dete Assia Djebar, one of the most distinguished woman writers to emerge from the Arab world, wrote Children of the New World following her own involvement in the Algerian resistance to colonial French rule. Like the classic film The Battle of Algiers—enjoying renewed interest in the face of world events—Djebar’s novel sheds light on current world conflicts as it reveals a determined Arab insurgency against foreign occupation, from the inside out. However, Djebar focuses on the experiences of women drawn into the politics of resistance. Her novel recounts the interlocking lives of women in a rural Algerian town who find themselves joined in solidarity and empower each other to engage in the fight for independence. Narrating the resistance movement from a variety of perspectives—from those of traditional wives to liberated students to political organizers—Djebar powerfully depicts the circumstances that drive oppressed communities to violence and at the same time movingly reveals the tragic costs of war.


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Assia Djebar, one of the most distinguished woman writers to emerge from the Arab world, wrote Children of the New World following her own involvement in the Algerian resistance to colonial French rule. Like the classic film The Battle of Algiers—enjoying renewed interest in the face of world events—Djebar’s novel sheds light on current world conflicts as it reveals a dete Assia Djebar, one of the most distinguished woman writers to emerge from the Arab world, wrote Children of the New World following her own involvement in the Algerian resistance to colonial French rule. Like the classic film The Battle of Algiers—enjoying renewed interest in the face of world events—Djebar’s novel sheds light on current world conflicts as it reveals a determined Arab insurgency against foreign occupation, from the inside out. However, Djebar focuses on the experiences of women drawn into the politics of resistance. Her novel recounts the interlocking lives of women in a rural Algerian town who find themselves joined in solidarity and empower each other to engage in the fight for independence. Narrating the resistance movement from a variety of perspectives—from those of traditional wives to liberated students to political organizers—Djebar powerfully depicts the circumstances that drive oppressed communities to violence and at the same time movingly reveals the tragic costs of war.

30 review for Children of the New World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adam Dalva

    Wonderfully structured, short book that tells the story of one Algerian day, both normal and pivotal: March 24th, 1956. In many ways, the novel resembles the "Wandering Rocks" chapter of Ulysses - 22 intersecting characters pass in and out of the town square and hand off the baton of narrative as they go. The novel begins with tragedy, and the perspectives of 4 very different women: one permanently cloistered in her home; one living alone, with her husband rebelling in the mountainside; one in j Wonderfully structured, short book that tells the story of one Algerian day, both normal and pivotal: March 24th, 1956. In many ways, the novel resembles the "Wandering Rocks" chapter of Ulysses - 22 intersecting characters pass in and out of the town square and hand off the baton of narrative as they go. The novel begins with tragedy, and the perspectives of 4 very different women: one permanently cloistered in her home; one living alone, with her husband rebelling in the mountainside; one in jail; one condemned in town as a spy, whose morality defies the expectations of the town. From there, after a pivot chapter with a policeman, the book switches to the perspectives of 4 local men, each of whom will be altered by the women. It's really well thought out, and the characters, particularly Cherifa, the cloistered woman, are wonderful. The war and action seem very far away at times, and I liked how the reader is made to supplement the book with research, how the battle on the mountain feels like a 3-D television at the edge of most of the sequences. I did feel that scenework melted away a bit as the novel went along - it was written quickly, and it sometimes shows in the second half. The book also trails off more then ends, which might be an obligation of structure but still felt disappointing. My secondary reading has mainly talked about CHILDREN in context as a feminist work of sociology, and it serves that essential purpose well, but one shouldn't overlook Djebar's essential novelistic skills and evocative writing either. Recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    March 24th, 1956. One day, twenty characters and 272 well-written pages later, I am left amazed by the amount of caring Assia Djebar awakened in my somewhat blasé heart. Indeed Les enfants du nouveau monde (Children of the New World in English) strikes me as a splendidly structured novel I won't forget, and a much-needed voice for Algerian women of the time. Recommended to every reader who's interested in reading about a generation sacrificed at the altar of greed by France and its decades-long c March 24th, 1956. One day, twenty characters and 272 well-written pages later, I am left amazed by the amount of caring Assia Djebar awakened in my somewhat blasé heart. Indeed Les enfants du nouveau monde (Children of the New World in English) strikes me as a splendidly structured novel I won't forget, and a much-needed voice for Algerian women of the time. Recommended to every reader who's interested in reading about a generation sacrificed at the altar of greed by France and its decades-long colonization. TW : Rape, torture

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jamila

    This is one of Djebar's earlier novels and so readers of her more famous works (L'amour, la fantasia, Le Blanc d'Alger) will note a different style which was to be more developed later on. As such, it is important to read this novel with a few historical contexts in mind: namely, that Djebar wrote and published this during the last years of the Algerian-French war, and (I believe) is a result of her dropping out of school to pursue novelistic writing and engage in the war effort. As such, the nov This is one of Djebar's earlier novels and so readers of her more famous works (L'amour, la fantasia, Le Blanc d'Alger) will note a different style which was to be more developed later on. As such, it is important to read this novel with a few historical contexts in mind: namely, that Djebar wrote and published this during the last years of the Algerian-French war, and (I believe) is a result of her dropping out of school to pursue novelistic writing and engage in the war effort. As such, the novel comes under numerous critiques, both criticisms and praises, because of this context. Some praise Djebar for her efforts to publish at a time where very few women were publishing, let alone writing, novels. Djebar was not the first Algerienne author to publish in French (according to Martha Segarra in Leur pesant du poudre : romancières francophones du maghreb, this was Djamila Debêche, Leïla, jeune fille algérienne, written in 1935 and published in 1947, followed the same year by Taos Amrouche’s Jacinthe noire) but she is one of Algeria's most famous francophone authors.Les enfants du nouveau monde, in particular, was criticized for focusing too much on the problems of the bourgeoisie and not enough on the difficulties faced by the majority of the population, women who were engaged in war efforts and who were later effaced by a male political power who ignored the sacrifices women made and ordered their return to domestic, "traditional" women's roles. That said, there a lot of very interesting novelistic devices here that are worth considering as adding to both the aesthetic quality of novels, Djebar's unique writing style, the question of (French) language post-French colonization, and her developing understanding of women's roles in Algerian society. Stylistically, for example, readers will note that though this text is written entirely in the third person, giving a seeming fluidity and unity of voice, the shifting of represented narrative voice offers a much more disjointed reading. Within this shifting of narrator is also a chronotopic shifting, in which time and place oscillates within one narrative frame, highlighting the opposition between each of the represented narrators (in particular, gender.) The relationship between narrative voice and gendered space is very interesting and highlights some of the social problems that Algeria continues to face today.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book is a series of stories on Algerian women in their fight against French colonialism. It follows their lives within the confines of their society and shows their acts of rebellion against both the male dominated society and the ways they contributed to their partners' and family lives against the European invader. Whilst easy to read and well written, somehow the book lost me about half way. The narrative isn't tight enough and does not hold the momentum. However, it is an important work This book is a series of stories on Algerian women in their fight against French colonialism. It follows their lives within the confines of their society and shows their acts of rebellion against both the male dominated society and the ways they contributed to their partners' and family lives against the European invader. Whilst easy to read and well written, somehow the book lost me about half way. The narrative isn't tight enough and does not hold the momentum. However, it is an important work in the context of Algerian literature, and a courageous one considering the gender context and the times it is set in.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Jordaan

    I think right at the start one needs to acknowledge the courage of the author to publish this book when she did. One, towards the end of the Algerian independence struggle, a time during retribution against acts of rebellion was often extremely harsh, and secondly for writing this as a woman in a society at a time when women moving outside boundaries of assigned gender roles more often than not resulted in ostracism. Whilst the book is an easy read, the author named the chapters after individual I think right at the start one needs to acknowledge the courage of the author to publish this book when she did. One, towards the end of the Algerian independence struggle, a time during retribution against acts of rebellion was often extremely harsh, and secondly for writing this as a woman in a society at a time when women moving outside boundaries of assigned gender roles more often than not resulted in ostracism. Whilst the book is an easy read, the author named the chapters after individuals leading to an assumption on my part that those chapters will be about the characters named. This was not so, and while the afterword in my edition provides an explanation, this did not work for me. Overall a good read with the author clearly making the point that the struggle for Algerian independence was not the exclusive domain of fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, but that their women comrades were engaging in an additional war, trying to escape gendered confinement. In fact I appreciated how she illustrated the different lenses by introducing both male and female collaborators, but only the young woman is killed in retribution. I will definitely read more of this author's work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Read for BNBC "Literature by Women" June. A very interestingly constructed portrait of a town whose inhabitants are torn apart by the war for Algerian independence. It's not just a book about women's rights in Muslim culture but the rights of all people, be they French women or Arab women, of Moorish descent or Arab, young men, old men, children. It's about the right to be recognized and live freely in your own town and country. many, many thanks to IBIS for championing this book during our Sprin Read for BNBC "Literature by Women" June. A very interestingly constructed portrait of a town whose inhabitants are torn apart by the war for Algerian independence. It's not just a book about women's rights in Muslim culture but the rights of all people, be they French women or Arab women, of Moorish descent or Arab, young men, old men, children. It's about the right to be recognized and live freely in your own town and country. many, many thanks to IBIS for championing this book during our Spring round of voting for the group.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    I tend to believe that it's best to know something of the relevant history and culture before diving into literature...but then, I studied history, not literature. In this case, Djebar is a famous author, and an important book...but my lack of more than a passing knowledge of Algerian history and literature kept me from getting the most of it. The lengthy and deep critical afterward helped me make sense of a lot of things that had gone over my head, but still. I tend to believe that it's best to know something of the relevant history and culture before diving into literature...but then, I studied history, not literature. In this case, Djebar is a famous author, and an important book...but my lack of more than a passing knowledge of Algerian history and literature kept me from getting the most of it. The lengthy and deep critical afterward helped me make sense of a lot of things that had gone over my head, but still.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Moushine Zahr

    This novel is a history fictional novel set in a small Algerian city near the mountains in 1956. The author described in this book the general changing lives of Algerian women and men in a small city during the Occupation and the beginning of the fight for Independence. The author is a great story-teller who gave us a general and realistic picture of how Algerians lived during that era and the small, but important changes occurring within the Algerian society. The author chose to narrate this st This novel is a history fictional novel set in a small Algerian city near the mountains in 1956. The author described in this book the general changing lives of Algerian women and men in a small city during the Occupation and the beginning of the fight for Independence. The author is a great story-teller who gave us a general and realistic picture of how Algerians lived during that era and the small, but important changes occurring within the Algerian society. The author chose to narrate this story through 9 chapters, thus through 9 different characters (5 women and 4 men) whose lives are interlinked. Some characters are well developed while other are barely detailed. This chosen structure makes it difficult for the readers to be able to identify with a specific leading character, to learn in detail the intimate and personal lives of Algerians, to feel captivated and/or fascinated by the story. Most of the story is set during one full day in 1956, but it is difficult to follow as the story jumps from one character to another, one side of the story to another, and one time to another. To conclude, this is a good book for the reader interested in a general overview of the lives of Algerians during the Occupation and the conflict for Independance, but not if you're interested in a reading detailed descriptions of the lives of Algerians and the war.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sookie

    What an incredible read! I paused several times during the course of reading this book and reflected upon other (war) books that I have read in the past. This short book provided points of view from multiple people who are going through about the day. A lot happens (as this is set during insurgency) during the day and the narration perspectives shifts and spans in a rapid pace. by the end of the book, the reader is left with a complete picture of the event as if we are getting a picture from all What an incredible read! I paused several times during the course of reading this book and reflected upon other (war) books that I have read in the past. This short book provided points of view from multiple people who are going through about the day. A lot happens (as this is set during insurgency) during the day and the narration perspectives shifts and spans in a rapid pace. by the end of the book, the reader is left with a complete picture of the event as if we are getting a picture from all directions. It moves fast but the author holds her reigns close and tight thus delivering a good book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ☕Laura

    The author is obviously a talented writer and I appreciated this glimpse into a world I don't know very much about: Algeria during its fight for independence. However, this lack of foundational knowledge along with the number of characters involved and the way the story jumped around made it difficult for me to follow. Ratings: Writing 4 Story line 3 Characters 4 Impact 3 Overall rating: 3.5 The author is obviously a talented writer and I appreciated this glimpse into a world I don't know very much about: Algeria during its fight for independence. However, this lack of foundational knowledge along with the number of characters involved and the way the story jumped around made it difficult for me to follow. Ratings: Writing 4 Story line 3 Characters 4 Impact 3 Overall rating: 3.5

  11. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    This novel, by a Francophone literary giant, describes a day in the Algerian war from the perspective of a number of women (and some men) in a small town that is not far from front-line fighting. I did read it in translation, so I probably missed some of the lyricism that characterizes Djebar's writing, but it was a very good translation. It read pretty quickly (it just took me awhile to finish because I kept getting distracted by other books!), and I thought Djebar did a good job of describing This novel, by a Francophone literary giant, describes a day in the Algerian war from the perspective of a number of women (and some men) in a small town that is not far from front-line fighting. I did read it in translation, so I probably missed some of the lyricism that characterizes Djebar's writing, but it was a very good translation. It read pretty quickly (it just took me awhile to finish because I kept getting distracted by other books!), and I thought Djebar did a good job of describing the point of view of different people without necessarily judging. (I say necessarily, because it's hard for me to conclude that Lila--until the very end--is anything but a self-centered ditz, Touma a self-centered jerk, and Hakim a man with a weak conscience, to name some of my least-favorite characters.) The afterword made a big deal about Djebar adhering to all the Aristotelian unities (time, place, and action)--I could see place and action easily, but I found it hard to realize that the whole novel took place in one day--if, in fact, it did--because the characters reminisce and recount so much else. I don't think this at all takes away from the story, but it's something that struck me. The Algerian war is often considered France's Vietnam, so reading about it from the point of view of Algerians (mostly--there are a few European characters, but certainly the author is Algerian, although she is now an exile) is definitely worthwhile. Djebar's storytelling, however, makes it an enjoyable as well as a worthwhile read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wawan

    First of all, yes, indeed I finished three books on the same day. But of course I began reading each of them at least last week. :) So, let's go back to business: Presenting the 24-hour time period from the perspectives of multiple characters in pre-independence Algerian small town, Children of the New World puts the reader in the position of an objective, passive observer. The narrative style that Djebar uses is a combination of stream of consciousness and literary journalism. The reader is take First of all, yes, indeed I finished three books on the same day. But of course I began reading each of them at least last week. :) So, let's go back to business: Presenting the 24-hour time period from the perspectives of multiple characters in pre-independence Algerian small town, Children of the New World puts the reader in the position of an objective, passive observer. The narrative style that Djebar uses is a combination of stream of consciousness and literary journalism. The reader is taken to see the steaming political tension as well as seeing it from the eyes of those involved in it. We have quite the same amount of views from the French settlers and the apparatus of French colony in Algeria while in some other occasions we also see the revolutionary perspectives of the local rebels and guerrillas. In addition to these, we also see the world through the perspective of those trapped in between. However, this is a literary work, not a window to see the pre-independence Algeria. What we can grasp of the pre-independence Algeria is probably the spirit of that age, which requires our active part in processing it into information.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I think I would have liked this book more if it were written in a slightly different format. The chapters are named after characters, which makes it seem like it will be told from that person's perspective, but that's not the case. It's an omniscient voice throughout, but because the story jumps around some much (among characters and time), it's hard to tell if the narrator's voice also changes chapter to chapter. I'm also very surprised that critics often refer to this as a "linear narrative" - I think I would have liked this book more if it were written in a slightly different format. The chapters are named after characters, which makes it seem like it will be told from that person's perspective, but that's not the case. It's an omniscient voice throughout, but because the story jumps around some much (among characters and time), it's hard to tell if the narrator's voice also changes chapter to chapter. I'm also very surprised that critics often refer to this as a "linear narrative" -- I didn't see that at all, which made this quite hard to follow at times. There are so many stories told, but they don't quite make up a larger "point", which, as a reader, was a bit frustrating, but, as my professor pointed out in class today, "there's no single story," and I do really appreciate that this novel reflects that. I also wish I had known while I was reading that this book was written/published in 1962 -- my edition was published in 2006, and that was the only I date I could find.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Taking place in 1956, in a mountain town, during the Algerian revolution, this is a series of vignettes showing how different people, and families were affected. Their relationships harbor secrets, some are destroyed and many others changed and often not in a good way. I was surprised at how strong many of the woman were, not all, but some. These stories encompass many different walks of life from informer, to teacher, to police and show the many diverse sides of this war against the French. Som Taking place in 1956, in a mountain town, during the Algerian revolution, this is a series of vignettes showing how different people, and families were affected. Their relationships harbor secrets, some are destroyed and many others changed and often not in a good way. I was surprised at how strong many of the woman were, not all, but some. These stories encompass many different walks of life from informer, to teacher, to police and show the many diverse sides of this war against the French. Some of the stories were powerful and insightful, others I found harder in which to relate. In some ways I did like the changing focus but in others I felt this format kept me from forming an attachment to any of the characters, kept me at a distance. Almost like this was an overview instead of an in depth portrait of this war.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    Ms. Djebar does and outstanding job portraying the interconnected lives of individuals living in an Algerian mountain town during the Algerian Revolution against French imperialism in 1956. Ms. Djebar introduces the reader to quite a cast of characters blending well both together and with the story. The author takes you into the psychological/emotional/mental impact war has on the characters individually and in some cases how their relationships are affected. Djebar also addresses the female poi Ms. Djebar does and outstanding job portraying the interconnected lives of individuals living in an Algerian mountain town during the Algerian Revolution against French imperialism in 1956. Ms. Djebar introduces the reader to quite a cast of characters blending well both together and with the story. The author takes you into the psychological/emotional/mental impact war has on the characters individually and in some cases how their relationships are affected. Djebar also addresses the female point of view during wartime and introduces feminism in a subtle and obtuse manner. The book reflects more on what the characters are thinking and feeling during this turbulent time. It's unique, simple but yet complex. Ms. Djebar's writing style leaves you with a feeling of being "shown" as opposed to "telling" the story to her audience. Very unique book on all levels.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Losh

    Much of the language in this novel beautiful, but other parts of the book failed to hold my attention. I appreciated the handy chart of characters at the beginning of the book, showing how they relate to one another. I found that I referenced this often. But shouldn't the text of the novel itself do a sufficient job of explaining the relationships of characters to one another? I felt as if I was taking a peak into someone else's world, and as quickly as I was invited in, I was cast out again, with Much of the language in this novel beautiful, but other parts of the book failed to hold my attention. I appreciated the handy chart of characters at the beginning of the book, showing how they relate to one another. I found that I referenced this often. But shouldn't the text of the novel itself do a sufficient job of explaining the relationships of characters to one another? I felt as if I was taking a peak into someone else's world, and as quickly as I was invited in, I was cast out again, without any real resolution or deeper understanding. The most redeeming qualities of this novel were the style of the language and the emphasis put on the struggles and burdens on women in Algeria in the mid 1900s.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Val

    The history of war told mainly through the stories of various women makes that history unusually passive, but also unusually human and compelling. It also gives a good insight into a society where women are not expected to be active. This is not "The Battle for Algiers" in book form; it shows a different and very personal side to the history. It is a novel set at a moment in history, its concerns are more about what people think and feel than what they do. The two youngest women remain frustrati The history of war told mainly through the stories of various women makes that history unusually passive, but also unusually human and compelling. It also gives a good insight into a society where women are not expected to be active. This is not "The Battle for Algiers" in book form; it shows a different and very personal side to the history. It is a novel set at a moment in history, its concerns are more about what people think and feel than what they do. The two youngest women remain frustratingly enigmatic, which perhaps shows that we can't tell what the future will be. I enjoyed this book very much and learnt more about a way of living and thinking I was unfamiliar with. I will read more books by this author.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    I had a tricky time with the selection of Djebar's short stories, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, and I think my experience with Children of the New World is basically the same - a good book, but one I didn't quite connect with, because the things that I like about books aren't emphasized here. I guess? It's good, but it's not for me, which is a real shame, because it's not like it's an entry in an over-full genre or anything. I had a tricky time with the selection of Djebar's short stories, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, and I think my experience with Children of the New World is basically the same - a good book, but one I didn't quite connect with, because the things that I like about books aren't emphasized here. I guess? It's good, but it's not for me, which is a real shame, because it's not like it's an entry in an over-full genre or anything.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marek

    Children of the New World can be difficult to trudge through because every chapter revolves around a different person in the story. However, since it is about the Algerian War, if you look at it from a personal perspective (i.e. how personal war truly is to those involved in conflicts around the world), it definitely helps you understand it. The events occur in a 24 hour period, so you're overlapping events the entire time you're reading it. It's a great read even though I had a bit of difficulti Children of the New World can be difficult to trudge through because every chapter revolves around a different person in the story. However, since it is about the Algerian War, if you look at it from a personal perspective (i.e. how personal war truly is to those involved in conflicts around the world), it definitely helps you understand it. The events occur in a 24 hour period, so you're overlapping events the entire time you're reading it. It's a great read even though I had a bit of difficulting navigating it easily.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    It's nowhere near as mature a work as Fantasia, but it's still a good wartime novel about the relations between men and women, colonizer and colonized in Algeria. And there are some downright beautiful moments -- the contrast between the Pernod-sipping colonialists in the French cafes versus the single cup of coffee and single cigarette that is the unemployed man's only luxury in the Arabic cafes comes to mind. I would like to read more of Djebar's later work, but this was an interesting introdu It's nowhere near as mature a work as Fantasia, but it's still a good wartime novel about the relations between men and women, colonizer and colonized in Algeria. And there are some downright beautiful moments -- the contrast between the Pernod-sipping colonialists in the French cafes versus the single cup of coffee and single cigarette that is the unemployed man's only luxury in the Arabic cafes comes to mind. I would like to read more of Djebar's later work, but this was an interesting introduction to the earlier stuff.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Russel

    What an amazing book. I can't believe what emotions and feelings this piece of literature has brought up. I almost read the entire book in under 9 hours. It's just amazing to read the perspective from the "So-called" enemy that we've always been taught. It really opened me up and gave me fruitful knowledge of the mid east and innocent people trying to survive. If you like history and fiction, this is a book for you. What an amazing book. I can't believe what emotions and feelings this piece of literature has brought up. I almost read the entire book in under 9 hours. It's just amazing to read the perspective from the "So-called" enemy that we've always been taught. It really opened me up and gave me fruitful knowledge of the mid east and innocent people trying to survive. If you like history and fiction, this is a book for you.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This was very different from what I expected - more like interlinked stories about a group of women(and some men) in a small Algerian town in the early 1960s. Beautiful and poetic writing. This edition has a great essay about Djebar and the politics behind the novel which was very helpful. Even though this novel is about Algeria, it is all too applicable to Iraq or any country where the local insurgency is dealing with a foreign occupation.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    One of the best books about women in conflict and Arab women I have ever read. Its always the women that feel a conflict more accutely than men, I believe; and they are the ones always left to tell the tale of that conflict. Djebar does a spectacular job of showing the reader (as opposed to telling the reader) the lives of the women in this story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon

    Focuses on the interwoven lives of residents of a small town during the Algerian War of Independence. The lives are interwoven almost to the point of ridiculousness, but it works. The edition I read had a really interesting essay about Assia Djebar as a feminist writer and the book's reception at the end. Focuses on the interwoven lives of residents of a small town during the Algerian War of Independence. The lives are interwoven almost to the point of ridiculousness, but it works. The edition I read had a really interesting essay about Assia Djebar as a feminist writer and the book's reception at the end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Having had time to digest both the novel and the extremely helpful Afterword, I know that I did not have a complete understanding of this novel while reading it. I did not fully appreciate the structure, the "anthropological situatedness" of the characters (term from the Afterword), or the writing itself. This is a book that bears another reading in the future. Having had time to digest both the novel and the extremely helpful Afterword, I know that I did not have a complete understanding of this novel while reading it. I did not fully appreciate the structure, the "anthropological situatedness" of the characters (term from the Afterword), or the writing itself. This is a book that bears another reading in the future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    I read great reviews for thia book and yet for me, it was nothing special. I had to read it in French for one of my classes and there were a number of sections that I found hard to follow. I wouldn't call it a language barrier but more of a syntax barrier. I'm not used to the way she structures her sentences and it was hard to follow them. I read great reviews for thia book and yet for me, it was nothing special. I had to read it in French for one of my classes and there were a number of sections that I found hard to follow. I wouldn't call it a language barrier but more of a syntax barrier. I'm not used to the way she structures her sentences and it was hard to follow them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Merredith

    this book is too smart for me. i tried to read it. i thought it would be good and enlighten me. but it was too boring for my attention span. anyone who can read smart books probably should read this, because it would give you a good perspective of the war. i only got through a few pages.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    A novel of multiple, interwoven viewpoints that explores the anti-colonial Algerian struggle on both interpersonal and a larger resistance-movement levels. The writing was straightforward and sedate-feeling; I really liked the multivalent characterization. 3.5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Saroon

    wish i read it earlier so i can use it for my paper on Djebar's other book "Women of Algiers in their Apartment". after reading this book i think i'm more familiar now with her style of writing. wish i read it earlier so i can use it for my paper on Djebar's other book "Women of Algiers in their Apartment". after reading this book i think i'm more familiar now with her style of writing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    A trip into Algeria. Fine French writer, prestigious awards. Teaching in NYC. LbW selection, thanks to Iris.

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