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The Last Friend by Tahar Ben Jelloun
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The Last Friend (2004)

by Tahar Ben Jelloun

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English (4)  French (2)  Danish (1)  All (7)
Showing 4 of 4
4.5 Tangiers, 1950's and Ali and Mamet meet at school for the first time. Although they are very different they become fast friends, a friendship that will last thirty years. They separate when they go to different colleges, Mamet wants to be a doctor and Ali studies film, but they meet in the summers back in Tangiers. Their friendship, will be forever cemented when they are picked up for subversive activities, sent to a work camp, where they will labor for 18 months.

This is a novel about a remarkable friendship. When I first started reading I thought this might be another book about boys acting badly, sexual scenes and thoughts, drinking etc. The setting of Morocco kept me reading, I had not read many books set there before. So glad I did because this book is so much more. The culture, the politics of the country, the medical situation in both Morocco and Sweden, marriage and infidelity and ultimately a staged betrayal. But who was the betrayer and what was the reason behind it?

We hear from Ali, and then Mamet and finally Ramon, a friend of theirs that they had kept in contact with from their school days. He does play a integral part of this story.

This turned into a very emotional read for me, what a wonderful journey it was. The extra half star is for the last paragraph of the book, it summed it all up perfectly and left me teary eyed. ( )
  Beamis12 | Nov 12, 2014 |
Ali and Mamed are close friends, their friendship starts at school where the first meet and lasts thirty years or more, but then something goes wrong that sours that friendship. Until then they have stuck together through adversities, their marriages, and separation as both and later one moves away from Morocco to another country.

Ali provides an account of their friendship and what goes wrong, this is followed by Mamed's account; a friend they share provides another view of their problems, and the last word lies with the letter from one friend to the other.

While the closeness and depth of this friendship is described in both accounts, the book somehow fails to convey any real feeling. Could it be that something has been lost in the translation, or perhaps the way such matters are viewed by different cultures? Whatever the reason I was left a little cold when what I was hoping for was an involving and moving story of close friendship. ( )
  presto | Sep 2, 2012 |
Livre émouvant. Une amitié décrite différemment par les 2 amis. ( )
  nikela | Aug 11, 2007 |
Amazing. It isn't a long novel, but I zipped through it and wanted to read it again. I found myself trying to figure out what was going to happen next. ( )
  ebethe | Mar 31, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tahar Ben Jellounprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tarradas, MiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038486, Paperback)

Renowned for his compeling , humane portraits of everyday Arab lives, Tahar Ben Jelloun has affirmed his place in the literary world by winning such awards as the Prix Goncourt and Prix Maghreb. In The Last Friend, Ben Jelloun presents a spellbinding coming-of-age story and a dazzling portrait of Morocco in an era of repression and disillusionment. In Tangiers in the late 1950s, two teenagers, Mamed and Ali, strike up an intense friendship that will last a lifetime. But lurking just beneath the surface is a deep, unspoken jealousy in danger of destroying them both.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:22 -0400)

This novel explores the twists and turns of an intense 30-year friendship between two young men struggling to find their identities and sexual fulfillment in Morocco in the late 1950s, a complex and contradictory society both modern and archaic.

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