Spring, 1990. After years of searching in vain, a stranger passes a scrap of paper to Zina. It's from Aziz: the man who vanished the day after their wedding almost two decades ago. It propels Zina on a final quest for a secret desert jail in southern Morocco, where her husband crouches in despair, dreaming of his former life.Youssef Fadel pays powerful testament to a terrible period in Morocco's history, known as 'the Years of Cinders and Lead,' and masterfully evokes the suffering inflicted on those who supported the failed coup against King Hassan II in 1972.
Abdelkrim Ghallab's postcolonial We Buried the Past, originally published in 1966, was the first breakthrough Moroccan novel written in Arabic instead of French. Newly translated into English, this edition brings Ghallab's most widely read and lauded work to a new audience.Written after the country gained independence, the historical novel follows two generations of al-Tihamis, a well-to-do family residing in Fez's ancient medina. The family members' lives reflect the profound social changes taking place in Morocco during that time. Bridging two worlds, We Buried the Past begins during the quieter days of the late colonial period, a world of seemingly timeless tradition, in which the patriarch, al-Haj Muhammad, proudly presides over the family. Here, religion is unquestioned and permeates all aspects of daily life. But the coming upheaval and imminent social transition are reflected in al-Haj's three sons, particularly his second son, Abderrahman, who...
Hassan makes a living in his native Marrakesh as a comic writer and performer, through his satirical sketches critical of Morocco's rulers. Yet when he is suddenly conscripted into a losing war in the Sahara, and drafted to a far-flung desert outpost, it seems that all is lost.Could his estranged father, close to power as the king's private jester, have something to do with his sudden removal from the city? And will he ever see his beloved wife Zinab again?With flowing prose and black humor, Youssef Fadel subtly tells the story of 1980s Morocco.
A tour de force: an utterly singular modern Moroccan classic"When I walked through the large iron gate of the hospital, I must have still been alive..." So begins Ahmed Bouanani's arresting, hallucinatory 1989 novel The Hospital, appearing for the first time in English translation. Based on Bouanani's own experiences as a tuberculosis patient, the hospital begins to feel increasingly like a prison or a strange nightmare: the living resemble the dead; bureaucratic angels of death descend to direct traffic, claiming the lives of a motley cast of inmates one by one; childhood memories and fantasies of resurrection flash in and out of the narrator's consciousness as the hospital transforms before his eyes into an eerie, metaphorical space. Somewhere along the way, the hospital's iron gate disappears.Like Sadegh Hedayat's The Blind Owl, the works of Franz Kafka—or perhaps like Mann's The Magic Mountain thrown into a meat-grinder—The Hospital is a nosedive...