The Last Summer of Reason

The Last Summer of Reason (Paperback), by Tahar Djaout
Republished by Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press.
Lincoln and London: 2007

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One of the great blind spots of American intellectual life has been its failure to recognize and support Arab intellectuals living under various forms of totalitarianism. Algerian novelist, poet, and journalist Tahar Djaout, assassinated in 1993, is a case in point. Discovered among his papers following his death, The Last Summer of Reason, his first work translated into English, depicts the collapsing world of Boualem Yekker, a bookseller. Though Boualem realizes that “others had created the books he could not create,” he remains the hero of this bittersweet hymn of resistance, dedicated to the powers of memory and words that, “put end to end, bring doubt and change.”

“Tahar Djaout’s stunning “The Last Summer of Reason” opens with a five-page “sermon” that sounds more like a threat […]  Djaout’s prose is immediate, almost journalistic, and extremely well served by Marjolijn de Jager’s nimble translation from the original French.”

– The Denver Post, November 11, 2001