the lovers of algeria

“The Lovers of Algeria” by Anouar Benmalek, translated by Joanna Kilmartin, Graywolf Press.

Not a new release, but a book I read some time ago that has come to mind of late. Winner of the prestigious French Rachid prize, here’s the description from the publisher’s website:

"Nine-year-old Jallal is old enough to know that his life in Algeria is precarious at best—friends are as likely to kill you as save you. Having run away from home, he lives by selling peanuts and single cigarettes on the street. The proposal by the elderly Swiss woman named Anna is shocking and preposterous: travel with her through war-ravaged lands, as a translator, so she can find her lost husband and pray over the graves of their murdered children. To Anna, however, the risk is no less than when they first met in Algeria during yet another time of unspeakable terror decades ago. As Anna and her lover, battered by time and memory, circle each other, Benmalek asks what of humanity endures in dangerously lawless times. The Lovers of Algeria is an unflinching novel that resonates powerfully in today's world."

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