Mourad and his family live in Nice. His retired father spends his days fixing up things in the backyard; his mother, bemoaning the loss of her natal village in North Africa. Dounia, the eldest, is a staunch feminist; Mina, the youngest, blushes when the scented shower gel ad comes on. Mourad is strangely torn between a desire for freedom and the fear of his worst nightmare: that of becoming an overweight bachelor with salt and pepper hair.
On her eighteenth birthday, Dounia leaves home for good. She is no longer part of the family. Ten years later, Mourad's father has a stroke and makes his son promise to patch things up with his estranged sister, now a lawyer with an aspiring career in politics. Appointed to the Parisian suburbs as a teacher-in-training, Mourad tracks down Dounia and battles to span the gulf separating her and the rest of the family.
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Number of pages: 216
Dimensions: 135 x 216 mm
'It's not an exaggeration to suggest that Guene is doing for the people, especially the youth, of the banlieu what James Kelman and Agnes Owens have done for the deprived of Glasgow's housing schemes: that is, give a voice to those who have been excluded from literature ... Guene is very evidently a natural novelist, a young writer of real talent' -- Allan Massie * Scotsman * Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to half-life. Our home ... is an unforgettable narrator. 'Ahleme has wit, wisdom and charisma that puts the reader firmly on her side as she does her best to find the small scraps of hope she needs to keep her going in tough situations' 'It's sad, it's funny, it's stuffed full of talent.' Not since director Matthieu Kassovitz's 1995 hit film La Haine has there been such a compelling portrait of the Parisian suburbs ... but unlike Kassovitz's bleak movie, Guene's book is uplifting and ultimately optimistic. 'France's surprise publishing hit of 2004 was not the latest Houellebecq or Beigbeder but a tender and funny first novel by a 19-year-old writer of Algerian parentage about her run-down high-rise estate north of Paris. Faiza Guene instantly became the 'Sagan des Cites', or the Bronte of the 'burbs. Full of humanity and wry humour, stuffed with memorable characters, praised to the skies by Le Monde, Le Figa, Elle and just about every other newspaper and magazine, the novel is a kind of French White Teeth. L'Express's critic called Faiza Guene "a phenomenon filled with vital energy"' 'ENGAGING ... Along with the corpse himself, (the suspects) tell their stories in a series of monologues and this is where Guene, with the help of an excellent translation by Ardizzone, really shines' -- Laura Wilson * Guardian * 'The various monologues very cleverly paint the picture of a day in the life of this deprived society, [it] is very thoroughly and convincingly done ... She writes with intelligence and sympathy, with humour and understanding' -- Allan Massie * Scotsman * 'One of the most exciting novelists to emerge in recent years'