Algerian White: A Narrative

Front Cover
Seven Stories Press, 2000 - Fiction - 233 pages
10 Reviews
So Vast the Prison is the double-threaded story of a modern, educated Algerian woman existing in a man's society, and, not surprisingly, living a life of contradictions. Djebar, too, tackles cross-cultural issues just by writing in French of an Arab society (the actual act of writing contrasting with the strong oral traditions of the indigenous culture), as a woman who has seen revolution in a now post-colonial country, and as an Algerian living in exile.
In this new novel, Djebar brilliantly plays these contradictions against the bloody history of Carthage, a great civilization the Berbers were once compared to, and makes it both a tribute to the loss of Berber culture and a meeting-point of culture and language. As the story of one woman's experience in Algeria, it is a private tale, but one embedded in a vast history.
A radically singular voice in the world of literature, Assia Djebar's work ultimately reaches beyond the particulars of Algeria to embrace, in stark yet sensuous language, the universal themes of violence, intimacy, ostracism, victimization, and exile.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
3
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
2

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - banjo123 - LibraryThing

I think that I picked the wrong book by Djebar to start with. She writes beautifully and has won several prestigious awards. She is known for her feminist stance, which is interesting to me. This book ... Read full review

Review: So Vast the Prison

User Review  - Sofia Samatar - Goodreads

This is the third volume in the "Algerian Quartet." As in the other novels, fiction and history blend here, aided by the form that lies between them: autobiography. The memory of a love affair ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Silence of Writing
11
WHAT IS ERASED IN THE HEART
17
The Siesta
19
The Face
25
Space Darkness
37
The Dance
48
The Absence
66
Before After
87
Arable Woman I
178
Of the Mother as Traveler
181
Arable Woman II
203
Of the Grandmother as a Young Bride
207
Arable Woman III
224
Of the Mother as Little Girl
230
Arable Woman IV
252
Of the Narrator in the French Night
258

The Goodbye
111
ERASED IN STONE
121
The Slave in Tunis
123
The Renegade Court
131
The Archeologist Lord
135
Destruction
142
The Secret
146
The Stele and the Flames
153
The Deported Writer
159
ABALESSA
164
A SILENT DESIRE
169
FUGITIVE WITHOUT KNOWING IT
171
Arable Woman V
278
Of the Narrator as an Adolescent
284
Arable Woman VI
303
Of Desire and its Desert
311
Arable Woman VII
330
Shadows of Separation
334
THE BLOOD OF WRITING
351
Yasmina
353
The Blood of WritingFinal
356
GLOSSARY
360
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2000)

With her Berber and Muslim roots, her accomplishments as an Arab woman at the highest echelons of Western society in France and America, and her relentless output as a novelist and filmmaker, ASSIA DJEBAR speaks for the women, the poor, victims of both terrorism and the “War on Terror” that began in Algeria forty years before it arrived on US soil, and provides a much needed alternative voice to the litanies of the “experts.” Djebar won the Neustadt Prize in 1996, Germany’s Peace Prize in 2000, and in 2005 became the first Arab woman elected to the Académie Française. She is Silver Professor of Francophone Literature and Civilization at NYU. Djebar lives in Paris and New York. 

Bibliographic information