The Lovers of Algeria: A Novel (Lannan Translation Selection (Graywolf Paperback))

The Lovers of Algeria: A Novel - Anouar Benmalek, Joanna Kilmartin The Lovers of Algeria is a horrifyingly vivid, achingly tragic novel with, at its core, a fragile and imperfect love story spanning decades of loss, relocation, and hopeful discovery in its North African setting. The story, told in overlapping flashbacks and contemporary (1997) scenes, is too involved to recite, but it should be enough to say that Anna, a Swiss gaouria, and Arab Nassreddine have an unconventional love affair that begins when they are young adults and continues, or tries to continue, amid four decades of war between European, Algerian, and religious interests. The scenes of conflict are intensely graphic, but Benmalek’s skill as an author is equally as true in crafting scenes of memorable, albeit sad beauty for his cautious but passionate pair; these are the scenes that may — and I am not sure they do — transcend two lives brimmed with disappointment. Love, we hope, can outlast everything, but the scars of destruction this story undresses for us do not fade from memory so easily.