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Mohamed Choukri

For Bread Alone

Driven by famine from their home in the Rif, Mohamed's family walks to Tangier in search of a better life. But things are no better there. Eight of Mohamed's siblings die of malnutrition and neglect, and one is killed by his father in a fit of rage. On moving to another province Mohamed learns how to charm and steal, and discovers the joys of drugs, sex and alcohol. Proud, insolent and afraid of no one, he returns to Tangier, where he is caught up in the violence of the 1952 independence riots. It is here, during a short spell in a filthy Moroccan jail, that a fellow inmate kindles Mohamed's life-altering love of literature. 'A true document of human desperation, shattering in its impact.' Tennessee Williams 'Its unrelenting realism has produced a masterpiece… In Choukri's African Islamic coastal cities the nightmares are of fathers killing children and the agony of hunger. Choukri's memories take him from famine in the Rif to Tangier and Oran, a world of crime, paid-for sex and of living poor… It is an urban pain where every day “the alleys swallow me up and spew me out.” A book to read, cherish and remember — and to show us again why we need books as well as bread.' Morning Star '(An) extraordinarily vivid, uncensored immediacy… Using only undemonstrative prose, and asking for no special sympathy, Choukri conveys the experience of struggling to survive in a harsh world of dusty streets and unforgiving sunlight.' Guardian 'Five stars… Achingly elegant… Choukri's irrepressible, ultimately indomitable spirit is most touching and human.' Independent 'Richly descriptive and engaging … an honest and vivid account…. Definitely an enjoyable and worthwhile read.' Socialist Review 'A cult classic… Choukri's text has become a staple on the syllabi of modern Arabic, comparative literature, and post-colonial studies programs.' Daily Star 'The most poetic exploration of that world of vice, coffee, conversation and intrigue… One of the most widely read modernist novels in the Arab world.'
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  • Christian Jensen Kværndruphar citeretfor 3 år siden
    could feel sleep still hanging there deliciously close
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    The signs of poverty, blotted out by night, were becoming visible once again.
  • Isabel Vargashar citeretfor 3 år siden
    I had often dreamed of being able to fly. Likewise I had dreamed of being in a cave strewn with lengths of silk and rugs, and where the walls were painted with brilliant designs. I had only to make a gesture, and a platter would be there, bearing whatever it was that I felt like eating. If I clapped my hands, a marvellous girl would appear, one who had never been touched by a man, to dance naked in a fog of incense smoke before me

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