In Algerian White, Assia Djebar weaves a tapestry of the epic and bloody ongoing struggle in her country between Islamic fundamentalism and the post-colonial civil society. Many Algerian writers and intellectuals have died tragically and violently since the 1956 struggle for independence. They include three beloved friends of Djebar: Mahfoud Boucebi, a psychiatrist; M'Hamed Boukhobza, a sociologist; and Abdelkader Alloula, a dramatist; as well as Albert Camus.
Djebar finds a way to meld the personal and the political by describing in intimate detail the final days and hours of these and other Algerian men and women, many of whom were murdered merely because they were teachers, or writers, or students. Yet, for Djebar, they cannot be silenced. They continue to tell stories, smile, and endure through her defiant pen. Both fiction and memoir, Algerian White describes with unerring accuracy the lives and deaths of those whose contributions were cut short, and then probes even deeper into the meaning of friendship through imagined conversations and ghostly visitations.
"A hymn to friendship and the enduring power of language, [Algerian White ] is also a requiem for a nation's unfinished literature." —The New York Times
"Assia Djebar has given weeping its words and longing its lyrics." —William Gass, World Literature Today
About Assia Djebar
ASSIA DJEBAR was born in Algeria of Berber heritage, and was educated in France and in her homeland. In 1996 she won the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Contributions to World Literature (previous winners include Max Frisch, Francis Ponge, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and the Yourcenar Prize in 1997. She is a novelist, scholar, poet, and filmmaker who won the Venice Biennale Critics Prize (1979). She writes in French and her books have been translated into many languages. She lives in Paris and in Baton Rouge, where she is currently Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies at Louisiana State University.