An emblematic story of the shipwreck of the Arab Spring
At his father’s funeral, to the great consternation of all present, Abdel Nasser beats the imam who is celebrating the funeral rite. The narrator, a childhood friend of the protagonist, retraces the story of “the Italian” from his days as a free and rebellious adolescent spirit to the leader of a student movement and then affirmed journalist.
Those were crucial years in Tunisia, years of great tension, change, and repression. Against this background full of revolutionary ferments stands the tormented love story between Abdel Nasser and Zeina, a brilliant and beautiful philosophy student. Their dreams will unfortunately end up being wrecked under the ruthless gears of a corrupt and chauvinist society. Abdel Nasser’s transformation from a young idealist with high hopes to a successful, but disillusioned and tired journalist is masterfully narrated in a stream of stories, digressions and flashbacks in which the narrative tension is always high.
Winner of the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction
“An uncompromisingly modern and entirely atypical Arab novel.”
- Winner of International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2015