Yasmina Khadra is actually the nom de plume of Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul -- who took on the feminine pseudonym to avoid submitting his manuscripts for approval by military censors while he was still in the army. “Yasmina Khadra’s Kabul is hell on earth, a place of hunger, tedium, and stifling fear,” observes J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Read the interview
Also Known As:
Date of Birth:
January 10, 1955
Place of Birth:
Kenadsa, Sahara, Algeria
Officer in the Algerian army
Yasmina Khadra's official web site
|Khadra's Latest Novel|
|The Swallows of Kabul|
Yasmina Khadra, John Cullen (Translator)
Set in Kabul under the rule of the Taliban, Khadra's extraordinary novel takes readers into the lives of two couples: Mohsen, who comes from a family of wealthy shopkeepers whom the Taliban has destroyed; Zunaira, his wife, exceedingly beautiful, who was once a brilliant teacher and is now no longer allowed to leave her home without an escort or covering her face. Intersecting their world is Atiq, a prison keeper, a man who has adopted the Taliban ideology, and his wife, Musarrat, who once rescued Atiq and is now dying of sickness and despair. "Beautifully written.... It puts a human face on the suffering inflicted by the Taliban," observes the San Francisco Chronicle.
Read an excerpt
|Music and Meaning|
|In our exclusive interview with Khadra, he spoke of the importance of music in society. "Contrary to language, which relies on our ability to access the language in which it was written, music speaks immediately to the soul before soliciting the mind," he reflects. "Today, more than ever, at a time when the world is losing its poetry, music remains one of the rare spaces capable of calming both attitudes and appetites."|
We asked Khadra to tell us about some of his all-time favorite books. He named Camus's classic, The Stranger, noting "the calm power of its simplicity in translating the absurdity of the human condition." In its review of Khadra's Swallows, The New York Times called it "a novel very much in the tradition of Albert Camus...."
Khadra also mentioned William Styron's devastating novel, Sophie's Choice as a favorite, "for the crudeness of its humanism and its implacable concern with reconstructing horror in its absolute cruelty, human cruelty." Read our interview to learn more about Khadra's best-loved books, including:
|Photo by by John Foley||