Algerian White

Algerian White, by Assia Djebar.
Co-translator: David Kelley
Original title: Le Blanc de l’Algérie.
Published by Seven Stories Press. New York, New York: 2001

Translated by Marjolijn de Jager & David Kelley “A hymn to friendship and the enduring power of language, [Algerian White] is also a requiem for a nation’s unfinished literature” – New York Times “Assia Djebar…has given weeping its words and longing its lyrics” – World Literature Today Weaving a tapestry of the epic and bloody ongoing struggle in Algeria between Islamic fundamentalism and the post-colonial civil society, Djebar describes with unerring accuracy and a ghostly presence the lives and deaths of those writers and intellectuals whose contributions were cut short.

A Tapestry Of The Algerian Struggle Between Islamic Fundamentalism And Post-Colonialism; Many Algerian writers and intellectuals have died tragically and violently since the 1956 struggle for independence. They include three of Djebar’s beloved friends: Mahfoud Boucebi, a psychiatrist; M’Hamad Boukhobza, a sociologist; and Abdelkader Allouda, a dramatist; as well as Albert Camus. In Algerian White, Dejbar 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.