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The Sand Child by Tahar Ben Jelloun
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The Sand Child (1985)

by Tahar Ben Jelloun, Tahar Ben Jelloun

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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363629,902 (3.62)17
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» See also 17 mentions

English (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 3 of 3
This is a haunting tale of a female child who is born the eighth daughter and raised as a boy on the instructions of her father who wanted a male heir. The novel was written in French and published in 1985. The uncertain ending aroused such interest in readers that Ben Jelloun continued the story in two more novels.
The story starts and ends with storytellers, men in a market sitting on a mat who claim to have the secret journal of our despondent young man, named Ahmed, later reclaiming his female identity as Zahra. Ahmed retreated to an attic as a young man and in addition to writing a journal he also corresponded with an anonymous observer, a man who followed his actions in the street.
The life Ahmed lives as a man in a woman's body would be sufficient to fill a novel like this, but the book really took off for me with the inclusion of the multiple narrators. The different endings of the life of our character, given by the different narrators and the diaries make this a book to read more than once. It is not as smooth as the other books I have read by this author but I was glad to reread it as soon as I finished it. ( )
  augustau | Dec 24, 2014 |
Plusieurs narations pour conter l'histoire d'une fille dont les parents décident de l'élever comme un garçon. ( )
2 vote arianechalifoux | Jul 28, 2009 |
A story with potential, but it never takes off.
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En historia som har potential, men som - tyvärr - aldrig riktigt lyfter. ( )
1 vote helices | Feb 7, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tahar Ben Jellounprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ben Jelloun, Taharmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Volterrani, EgiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zoppi, SergioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801864402, Paperback)

In this lyrical, hallucinatory novel set in Morocco, Tahar Ben Jelloun offers an imaginative and radical critique of contemporary Arab social customs and Islamic law. The Sand Child tells the story of a Moroccan father's effort to thwart the consequences of Islam's inheritance laws regarding female offspring. Already the father of seven daughters, Hajji Ahmed determines that his eighth child will be a male. Accordingly, the infant, a girl, is named Mohammed Ahmed and raised as a young man with all the privileges granted exclusively to men in traditional Arab-Islamic societies. As she matures, however, Ahmed's desire to have children marks the beginning of her sexual evolution, and as a woman named Zahra, Ahmed begins to explore her true sexual identity. Drawing on the rich Arabic oral tradition, Ben Jelloun relates the extraordinary events of Ahmed's life through a professional storyteller and the listeners who have gathered in a Marrakesh market square in the 1950s to hear his tale. A poetic vision of power, colonialism, and gender in North Africa, The Sand Child has been justifiably celebrated around the world as a daring and significant work of international fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In this lyrical, hallucinatory novel set in Morocco, Tahar Ben Jelloun offers an imaginative and radical critique of contemporary Arab social customs and Islamic law. The Sand Child tells the story of a Moroccan father's effort to thwart the consequences of Islam's inheritance laws regarding female offspring. Already the father of seven daughters, Hajji Ahmed determines that his eighth child will be a male. Accordingly, the infant, a girl, is named Mohammed Ahmed and raised as a young man with all the privileges granted exclusively to men in traditional Arab-Islamic societies. As she matures, however, Ahmed's desire to have children marks the beginning of her sexual evolution, and as a woman named Zahra, Ahmed begins to explore her true sexual identity. Drawing on the rich Arabic oral tradition, Ben Jelloun relates the extraordinary events of Ahmed's life through a professional storyteller and the listeners who have gathered in a Marrakesh market square in the 1950s to hear his tale.… (more)

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