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Tyskerens landsby, eller brødrene Schillers…
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Tyskerens landsby, eller brødrene Schillers dagbog (original 2008; edition 2012)

by Boualem Sansal, Lars Bonnevie (Translator)

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1581875,572 (3.68)54
Member:2810michael
Title:Tyskerens landsby, eller brødrene Schillers dagbog
Authors:Boualem Sansal
Other authors:Lars Bonnevie (Translator)
Info:@Århus : Turbine, 2012.
Collections:Your library, 2012 (inactive)
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Dagbog, Holocaust, Koncentrationslejre, Islamisme, Skyld, 1940-1949, 1990-1999, Tyskland, Frankrig, Algerisk litteratur, Skrevet 2000-2009, Roman

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The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal (2008)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=224

Rachel and Malrich Schiller, the sons of a German father and an Algerian mother, are two brothers that are so different that it is hard to imagine that they come from the same family.

The two immigrant boys, growing up in France without their parents who stay in their home village in Algeria, are just a few years apart but take a path in life that is completely different from each other.

There is Rachel, the older one, who is very serious about his education and studies and who embarks on a successful professional career that enables him to lead the life of a well-to-do middle class French citizen. His French wife make the picture of a successful assimilation complete, even when the mother-in-law of Rachel, a sympathizer of the racist Front National that seems to become the dominant political party in France, doesn't really accept this Arab - and even worse: German! - husband of her daughter as a member of the family.

And there is Malrich, who came a few years later to France and who grew up in not so favorable conditions. His world is the banlieue, the soulless ring of suburbs that seem to be designed for the immigrants and socially weaker classes. A world without much chances for a regular job, but a world with criminal gangs and a growing number of violent incidents on the streets. (Mathieu Kassovitz' movie La Haine comes to mind) Malrich may be a bigmouth sometimes, but he is a genuinely sympathetic young man who sees very clearly what is going on around him. Especially the growing presence of the "bearded" in the banlieue, and the failure of the state authorities to deal with them, is noted very clearly by Malrich.

Malrich finally drops out of school most of the time and is hanging out with other young lads from his neighborhood who share the feeling of belonging to a lost generation without perspective and without future. His meetings with his older brother who reminds of being disciplined and the need to finish his education are a nuisance, and the rare visits of his mother are a sad and mostly speechless encounter every time. Malrich and his mother literally have no common language anymore. His Berber mother doesn't speak French and Malrich has forgotten almost all his childhood Arabic.

One day, the brothers receive devastating news from their home village. There has been an attack by terrorists - probably in one or the other under the involvement of the Algerian State Security - on their village, and their parents are among the many victims of this gruesome act.

For Rachel it becomes soon an obsession to find out more about this attack and the reason why it happened. There are many unresolved questions for Rachel, one of them is the German origin of his father, who was a respected person and hero of the Algerian independence fight against the French, since he trained Algerian military that was fighting the French forces. After the independence, their father settled in a remote village, married a local woman and later sent his two sons to France. But who his father, a somewhat detached figure, really was, where he came from and what he did before coming to Algeria, Rachel and Malrich have no idea.

For Rachel this quest for the truth is getting more and more obsessive, an obsession that destroys in the end everything in his well-organized life. But it is surprisingly Malrich who finally visits the "village of the German" (the original title of the book) and learns to accept the terrible truth about his father.

This novel is a very touching reflection on guilt and personal responsibility. The Algerian author Boualem Sansal is advocating personal freedom in a world that is threatened by inhumane ideologies. An Unfinished Business (in the US published as The German Mujahid) is an admirable book with characters that no reader will easily forget. Despite it's rather depressing subject, Sansal leaves the reader with a sign of hope: Malrich has grown-up fast as a result of the circumstances, and it is a good guess that he will be able to get to terms with the haunting past and the future as well. ( )
  Mytwostotinki | Dec 14, 2015 |
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=224

Rachel and Malrich Schiller, the sons of a German father and an Algerian mother, are two brothers that are so different that it is hard to imagine that they come from the same family.

The two immigrant boys, growing up in France without their parents who stay in their home village in Algeria, are just a few years apart but take a path in life that is completely different from each other.

There is Rachel, the older one, who is very serious about his education and studies and who embarks on a successful professional career that enables him to lead the life of a well-to-do middle class French citizen. His French wife make the picture of a successful assimilation complete, even when the mother-in-law of Rachel, a sympathizer of the racist Front National that seems to become the dominant political party in France, doesn't really accept this Arab - and even worse: German! - husband of her daughter as a member of the family.

And there is Malrich, who came a few years later to France and who grew up in not so favorable conditions. His world is the banlieue, the soulless ring of suburbs that seem to be designed for the immigrants and socially weaker classes. A world without much chances for a regular job, but a world with criminal gangs and a growing number of violent incidents on the streets. (Mathieu Kassovitz' movie La Haine comes to mind) Malrich may be a bigmouth sometimes, but he is a genuinely sympathetic young man who sees very clearly what is going on around him. Especially the growing presence of the "bearded" in the banlieue, and the failure of the state authorities to deal with them, is noted very clearly by Malrich.

Malrich finally drops out of school most of the time and is hanging out with other young lads from his neighborhood who share the feeling of belonging to a lost generation without perspective and without future. His meetings with his older brother who reminds of being disciplined and the need to finish his education are a nuisance, and the rare visits of his mother are a sad and mostly speechless encounter every time. Malrich and his mother literally have no common language anymore. His Berber mother doesn't speak French and Malrich has forgotten almost all his childhood Arabic.

One day, the brothers receive devastating news from their home village. There has been an attack by terrorists - probably in one or the other under the involvement of the Algerian State Security - on their village, and their parents are among the many victims of this gruesome act.

For Rachel it becomes soon an obsession to find out more about this attack and the reason why it happened. There are many unresolved questions for Rachel, one of them is the German origin of his father, who was a respected person and hero of the Algerian independence fight against the French, since he trained Algerian military that was fighting the French forces. After the independence, their father settled in a remote village, married a local woman and later sent his two sons to France. But who his father, a somewhat detached figure, really was, where he came from and what he did before coming to Algeria, Rachel and Malrich have no idea.

For Rachel this quest for the truth is getting more and more obsessive, an obsession that destroys in the end everything in his well-organized life. But it is surprisingly Malrich who finally visits the "village of the German" (the original title of the book) and learns to accept the terrible truth about his father.

This novel is a very touching reflection on guilt and personal responsibility. The Algerian author Boualem Sansal is advocating personal freedom in a world that is threatened by inhumane ideologies. An Unfinished Business (in the US published as The German Mujahid) is an admirable book with characters that no reader will easily forget. Despite it's rather depressing subject, Sansal leaves the reader with a sign of hope: Malrich has grown-up fast as a result of the circumstances, and it is a good guess that he will be able to get to terms with the haunting past and the future as well. ( )
  Mytwostotinki | Dec 14, 2015 |
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=224

Rachel and Malrich Schiller, the sons of a German father and an Algerian mother, are two brothers that are so different that it is hard to imagine that they come from the same family.

The two immigrant boys, growing up in France without their parents who stay in their home village in Algeria, are just a few years apart but take a path in life that is completely different from each other.

There is Rachel, the older one, who is very serious about his education and studies and who embarks on a successful professional career that enables him to lead the life of a well-to-do middle class French citizen. His French wife make the picture of a successful assimilation complete, even when the mother-in-law of Rachel, a sympathizer of the racist Front National that seems to become the dominant political party in France, doesn't really accept this Arab - and even worse: German! - husband of her daughter as a member of the family.

And there is Malrich, who came a few years later to France and who grew up in not so favorable conditions. His world is the banlieue, the soulless ring of suburbs that seem to be designed for the immigrants and socially weaker classes. A world without much chances for a regular job, but a world with criminal gangs and a growing number of violent incidents on the streets. (Mathieu Kassovitz' movie La Haine comes to mind) Malrich may be a bigmouth sometimes, but he is a genuinely sympathetic young man who sees very clearly what is going on around him. Especially the growing presence of the "bearded" in the banlieue, and the failure of the state authorities to deal with them, is noted very clearly by Malrich.

Malrich finally drops out of school most of the time and is hanging out with other young lads from his neighborhood who share the feeling of belonging to a lost generation without perspective and without future. His meetings with his older brother who reminds of being disciplined and the need to finish his education are a nuisance, and the rare visits of his mother are a sad and mostly speechless encounter every time. Malrich and his mother literally have no common language anymore. His Berber mother doesn't speak French and Malrich has forgotten almost all his childhood Arabic.

One day, the brothers receive devastating news from their home village. There has been an attack by terrorists - probably in one or the other under the involvement of the Algerian State Security - on their village, and their parents are among the many victims of this gruesome act.

For Rachel it becomes soon an obsession to find out more about this attack and the reason why it happened. There are many unresolved questions for Rachel, one of them is the German origin of his father, who was a respected person and hero of the Algerian independence fight against the French, since he trained Algerian military that was fighting the French forces. After the independence, their father settled in a remote village, married a local woman and later sent his two sons to France. But who his father, a somewhat detached figure, really was, where he came from and what he did before coming to Algeria, Rachel and Malrich have no idea.

For Rachel this quest for the truth is getting more and more obsessive, an obsession that destroys in the end everything in his well-organized life. But it is surprisingly Malrich who finally visits the "village of the German" (the original title of the book) and learns to accept the terrible truth about his father.

This novel is a very touching reflection on guilt and personal responsibility. The Algerian author Boualem Sansal is advocating personal freedom in a world that is threatened by inhumane ideologies. An Unfinished Business (in the US published as The German Mujahid) is an admirable book with characters that no reader will easily forget. Despite it's rather depressing subject, Sansal leaves the reader with a sign of hope: Malrich has grown-up fast as a result of the circumstances, and it is a good guess that he will be able to get to terms with the haunting past and the future as well. ( )
  Mytwostotinki | Dec 14, 2015 |
I picked this novel up as part of my efforts to read literature from all parts of the world, especially in translation. This was my first Algerian author, and also one of a handful of Arab novels I have read. Sansal was awarded the Best First Novel Prize in France for his 1999 novel Le serment des barbares, which I don’t believe has been translated into English. The German Mujahid won the RTL-Lire Prize for Fiction in France and was translated by Frank Wynne who has received numerous awards for his work with Frédéric Beigbeder and Michel Houellebecq.

The German Mujahid is a grim novel. One of the first, if not the first, Arab novel to deal with the holocaust, it also draws parallels between the Nazis, the bloody Algerian war of independence with its equally violent aftermath of fundamentalism, and the repressive and frightening Islamic slums of Paris in the 1990's. The fact that it is based on a true story only adds to its power.

What if you discovered that your deceased parent was a war criminal? What if the evidence you uncovered made it impossible to believe they were just “following orders” but were proud and enthusiastic in taking part in the holocaust? Where would that knowledge take you? What effect would it have on you? Sansal shows two possible outcomes through the entries in two brothers diaries. Born in the remote bled(countryside) of Algeria and sent by their father to live with their simple and pious Aunt and Uncle in an Arab estate on the outskirts of Paris, the boys begin to learn the truth after their parents are massacred by Islamic fundamentalists. The effect on the sons as the truth oozes out is mesmerizing and gruesome. This book will bring the horrors of the holocaust and its relatives into your consciousness. These things need to be read about, acknowledged and talked about to keep them from continuing to happen. Read this book but be ready to learn from it. ( )
1 vote jveezer | Apr 7, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Boualem Sansalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wynne, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zieger, UlrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rachel died six months ago.
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Here I am, faced with a question as old as time: are we answerable for the crimes of our fathers, of our brothers, of our children? Our tragedy is that we form a direct line, there is no way out without breaking the chain and vanishing completely.
When my parents and everyone else in Aïn Deb were murdered by the Islamists, Rachel got to thinking. He figured that fundamentalist Islam and Nazism were kif-kif—same old same old. He wanted to find out what would happen if people did nothing, the way people did nothing in Germany back in the day, what would happen if nobody did anything in Kabul and Algeria where they've got I don't know how many mass graves, or here in France where we've got all these Islamist Gestapo. In the end, the whole idea scared him so much he killed himself.
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Published in the US as The German Mujahid and in the UK as An Unfinished Business.
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Two immigrant brothers discover the truth about their German father's past in this masterly investigation of evil, resistance and guilt, billed as "the first Arab novel to confront the Holocaust." Narrator Malrich, the younger son of a German father and an Algerian mother, lives with relatives in a gritty, mostly Arab housing estate outside Paris. Malrich is an indifferent hoodlum while his older brother, Rachel, has a university degree and a glamorous job at "a multinational." The plot hinges on Malrich's reading of Rachel's diary after Rachel commits suicide. After their parents were murdered in Algeria in 1994, Rachel discovered that their father was a Waffen SS officer posted to the death camps. In alternating chapters, the story is perfectly rendered in Malrich's wonderfully adolescent voice and Rachel's increasingly agonized diary entries. All this plays out against Malrich's perceptive likening of Hitler's Germany to the rise of fundamentalist Islamism on his housing estate...… (more)

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