"extraordinarily rendered" to a prison camp in an unknown location where he is interrogated and subjected to various methods of torture.
Narrated through the voice of the young prisoner, the novel unfolds in
Hamuda's attempt to record his experience once he is finally released after six years in captivity. He paints an unforgettable portrait of his captors' brutality and the terrifying methods of his primary interrogator, a French woman known as Mama Ghula. With a lucid style, Himmich delivers a visceral tale that explores the moral depths to which humanity is capable of descending and the limits of what the soul can endure.
About the Author
Roger Allen is the Sascha Jane Patterson Harvie Professor Emeritus of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is professor emeritus of Arabic and comparative literature. Among his translations are Bensalem Himmich's A Muslim Suicide and The Polymath.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a difficult book to read - not only because of the subject matter but also because of the way it was written. I found it difficult to follow and unnatural in its prose but this could have been as a result of the process of translation rather than the way the author intended. The story follows Hamuda, a bookseller from Morocco, after he is “arrested” and interred in an unknown place in horrific conditions. There he is held without trial whilst experiencing unspeakable and unthinkable acts of violence both physical and psychological. Whilst this is a work of fiction, it does make you wonder and question how much is actually close to the truth of what really happens with “prisoners” who go through the practice of rendition and how far Governments will go to garner information. How those “prisoners” survive, even if they undergo only half of what Hamuda did, is beyond me. As I said, a difficult book to read but one which is thought-provoking with a lot of talking points. Thank you to the publisher, Syracuse University Press, for providing me with a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.