Yamina Taleb is approaching her seventieth birthday. Not that she's sure exactly when to celebrate it, since her Algerian identity papers state a different date of birth to her French ones. These days, Yamina strives for a quiet life and to be, at best, invisible. The closest she gets to drama is flashing her pensioner's bus pass in the style of police officers she's seen on television or scooping 'revolutionary' bargains in the form of plastic kitchenware gadgets.
But Yamina's children feel differently. They are made to feel out of place in Paris, and it hurts. Then, for the first time in forty years, the whole family take a holiday from the city - not a return trip to the motherland, but a holiday in France. In the privacy of their villa-with-pool rental, it becomes clear to them all: there is no 'going back'.
Alternating fragments from Yamina's Algerian past with those of her Paris present, Discretion spans the history of colonial conflict from the Second World War to the present day. A tribute to mothers everywhere, it is also the story of a modern French family feeling their way through the puzzle of their history - and finding one another as they go along.
Publisher: Saqi Books
Number of pages: 240
Dimensions: 223 x 141 x 19 mm
'Faiza Guene is an important voice in French literature, rebelliously dissecting ideas of home, identity and belonging with a universally accessible intimacy and power.' Diana Evans