Drawing from his experience as a professor of philosophy, the Moroccan writer takes a direct look at the issue of gender inequality from all directions. Naturally, themes of violence, jealousy, love, and hate surface quickly. In this case, our protagonist formerly known as Ahmed leaves home. She never really receives a new name, which forces you to consider the character as simply a person, rather than belonging to a particular gender camp. Although she refers to herself as a woman, she is unlike any of the women around her. She struggles with the various types of captivity femaleness brings, after what could only be described as a childhood of imprisonment within a lie.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Dans le chapitre suivant, un conteur raconte son histoire. First published in France, the novel's message expresses on multiple levels ideas about the post-colonial condition of Morocco while also emphasizing themes relating to the construction of individual identities.

It can also be seen as a critique of "traditional" Islamic and Moroccan mores, with specific reference to the position of women. There are strong elements of magical realism in the novel. Get A Copy. Published December 1st by Seuil first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Is there a list of book group questions? Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3.

Rating details. More filters. Sort order. I've been pondering this book for 20 hours and, still, it leaves me confounded.

Days--months--later, I expect to feel the same. I carry the book with me and pull it out without request. My friends grow tired of my questions, my explanations, my struggle to make sense of the mind-bending novella I can't seem to return to the library, just yet.

The most Wait. The most basic of questions, "What is this book even about? The characters slip through the fingers of my mind like grains of sand, mixing there on the ground and becoming indistinguishable for one another. I trace their paths back through chapters, who? Is this a book about gender and identity? Storytelling and the imagination? The process of creating and writing?

That blind troubadour near the end, is that Tahar Ben Jelloun himself, stepping into and upsetting the novel and its characters, distracting and distancing the reading from the point? What is the point? Luckily, I have a sequel. Perhaps answers will be revealed in The Sacred Night, conclusions and fulfillments will be satisfied.

However, more likely than not, I expect more questions, more paths through labyrinths of Moroccan culture and history that I can't access, characters who appear before disappearing, cafes filled with the insistent truth of the storyteller too many truths to really trust any one of them. And yet, within this utter befuddlement, I trust Jelloun to deliver a something that I am too blind to see.

Yes, I am the cause of my confusion. I have been blinded and distracted by the art of the author, lead too easily down paths to miss the main point, not for lack of its existence by my inability to catch it passing, hidden. If you journey into this book, come back. Sit down with me in a cafe, over tea or fancy coffee, and talk. Bring your questions and theories, your knowledge and insight. This text pretends to discuss solitude, the moody enlightenment bestowed upon the reader alone at night, and yet it feels completely inaccessible outside of audience, community, and discussion.

My final review: Proceed with caution. Read it opened-eyed, trusting in the truth deliverable only through story, and hold lightly to the narrative, characters, and vapor-like images dancing near the transition points of each chapter. An interesting introduction for me to a world completely foreign to me.

Is it poetry or is it a fairy tale? Is it sociological criticism in a parable? There is suspense, mystery, secret manuscripts and cryptic stories within stories, but none of these elements really matter. What remained with me after reading it was the feeling of loss of all the characters. Would I recommend it? Yes but with reserve and only if you are willing to keep an open mind. I don't know what to make of this book.

It was an interesting idea for a story and I like how the author played with the idea of the oral storytelling tradition, but overall I just didn't care for the book. I wanted more depth of character. A story about discovering oneself.

I didn't like how the story was related : first from a storyteller, than from some men sitting in a coffee shop, then from a blind man coming out of nowhere Maybe it was done in purpose from the author to give us an idea how disturbed the psychological state of the main character, but I didn't like it.

Light reading. I liked the "choral" feeling of the book, and the idea that what matters are not only the characters in the story but also the storytellers. It was challenging to read this in French. I didn't understand everything, but overall it was disturbing, yet very poetic.

A tragic story not the fluff I've been reading this summer that shows the consequences of religious fanaticism. I have a hard time with books that have lots of deep meaning, which I guess this one does. It is written by a Moroccan author and is about their social and religious customs, etc. The books was described as "hallucinatory". I guess it was. I briefly remember the plot - it's good and compelling, but be warned, this isn't straight French, a lot of it is dialect.

We read this for my Lit of Francophone Countries class and I remember having a horrible time trying to comprehend the dialect. The copy i read is in arabic which is not in this website. I really enjoy the novel specially in the first half of it. It is very analytical writing using different methods from several fields and back round.

Have started reading the original in French - L'enfant de sable. I'm less than novice in French so this one's going to take time..

A tale by a teller of tales. Beautifully mesmerizing, confusing and pensive. Does the tale we tell of ourselves represent the present or can it only contain the past?

Not for everyone, but I will think of this for a while. I have never been happier to finish a book in my life. It was stupid, terrible, and a waste of a day to read. Save yourself and skip this book. Need to read this in French. The English title is 'The Sand Child'. Wow, I love this book. Mystery, silken, dreamy characters, Jungian depth, and wonderful use of symbolic and religious imagery all wound up in the cultural ties that bind a Maghreb character. Sep 05, jeremy bradner rated it really liked it.

Oct 03, Alison marked it as to-read. Need to check this out further before getting it. Jun 10, Wendy E.


The Sacred Night

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La nuit sacree

Post a comment. Both books take place in Morocco, and in the earlier novel the businessman father of the family seeks a family heir, which in this patriarchal society means that it must be a son. However, his wife gives birth to an eighth daughter. Deprived of a maculine descendant and facing humiliation and the future disinheritance of his immediate family in favor of that of his obnoxious elder brother, the father decides effectively to deprive his daughter Zahra of her female identity by concealing her gender from everyone and bringing her up as a son — Ahmed. Throughout the novel it is not always entirely clear what is real and what not, as some narrative sequences mix with dream elements, stories, and magic, although the feminist message is always clear. When she begins her journey she taken by a cavalier to a perfumed garden peopled by children, and later continues through a wood where she undergoes a slightly ambiguous rape, and from there she goes to a hammam Moorish or Turkish baths whose attendant L'Assise or The Seated One has her stay at her home for some months, where she looks after her blind brother, the Consul. Eventually Zahra begins a sexual relationship with the Consul, which is a revelation to her, and she comes to love the blind man.

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