An innocent man’s gripping personal account of terrifying confinement by the Moroccan military during the reign of a formidable twentieth-century despot
In 1967 Tahar Ben Jelloun, a peaceful young political protestor, was one of nearly a hundred other hapless men taken into punitive custody by the Moroccan army. It was a time of dangerous importance in Moroccan history, and they were treated with a chilling brutality that not all of them survived. This powerful portrait of the narrator’s traumatic experience, written with a memoirist’s immediacy, reveals both his helpless terror and his desperate hope to survive by drawing strength from his love of literature. Shaken to the core by his disillusionment with a brutal regime, unsure of surviving his ordeal, he stole some paper and began secretly to write, with the admittedly romantic idea of leaving some testament behind, a veiled denunciation of the evils of his time. His first poem was published after he was unexpectedly released, and his vocation was born.
About the Author
Tahar Ben Jelloun is an acclaimed Moroccan‑born French novelist, poet, and essayist. His many works include Racism Explained to My Daughter,The Sand Child, and the IMPAC Award–winning This Blinding Absence of Light, also translated by Linda Coverdale. Linda Coverdale is an award‑winning translator who has translated over seventy-five books.
“Exacting in both personal and historical detail . . . fluid, understatedly pristine language and expert structure . . . Not for nothing is Ben Jelloun regularly a Nobel Prize finalist . . . A masterly and important evocation of brutal political repression.”—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal