Assia Djebar’s novel Children of the New World – Les enfants du nouveau monde is the first novel about the war in Algeria in this readalong. Assia Djebar is one of the most important, if not the most important North African writer. She is also a translator, essayist and filmmaker.
I’ve been meaning to read her for years as I got other books by her on my piles and I’m glad to finally get a chance to do so.
She was the first writer from the Maghreb to be elected to the Académie Française in 2005. Djebar is known to be anti-patriarchal and anti-colonial; her novels focus on women’s lives. She writes in French, not in Arabic.
Children of the New World is about the war in Algeria from the point of view of the women.
Here are the first sentences
In the old Arab quarters at the foot of the mountain the whitewashed houses all look alike. Before the city grew larger, this was the only place where affluent families would come to find a bit of cool air, near the b rooks and orchards at the end of spring. Each home is at the end of a cup de sac, where, after wandering through a maze of silent little alleyways, one must stop. All that can be heard is some vague whispering suddenly interrupted by the shrill cries of children, whom the mothers are trying to keep at home, but to no avail. The military guard can show up any moment. Then there is barely enough time to gather the children and muffle their voices behind closed doors.
The discussion starts on Monday, 29 July 2013.
Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2013, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.