In a crumbling colonial mansion besieged by slums in the old quarter of Algiers, Lamia lives a life of self-imposed isolation, communing only with her ghosts by day, working as a paediatrician by day. Her family are dead, but for her beloved brother Sofiane, who has become a harraga - one of those who risk their lives attempting to flee the country for a better life in Europe/elsewhere. Lamia's tranquil, ordered existence is turned upside-down when a sixteen-year-old stranger knocks on her door in the middle of the night. Only because she has been sent by Sofiane, Lamia takes the girl in. Pregnant, unmarried and dressed in garish finery like an X-Factor contestant, Ch rifa is talkative, curiously innocent, and utterly unafraid. She enters the house like a whirlwind, and leaves a trail of destruction in her wake. Lamia must try to teach her, to protect her against a world where a woman who is not meek, subservient, married is an affront, where a girl who is pregnant can be killed to spare her family's honour. By turns funny and lyrical, luminous and sardonic, Harraga, by the controversial author of An Unfinished Business, is the engaging and ultimately tragic story of two very different women who become friends and allies in a patriarchal world. Boualem Sansal is the acclaimed the author of An Unfinished Business, which Bloomsbury published in 2010. His books have won many prizes, including France's Prix du premier roman he has also recently been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His books have been published in seventeen languages.
Dazzling novel about two women in Algiers - one young and rebellious, the other a recluse - by the controversial author of An Unfinished Business
Humane, searching and audacious ... This is Sansal's first to be translated into English. One hopes the rest will follow Guardian on An Unfinished Business A searing account of evil, guilt and shame Financial Times This is a remarkable novel ... and a remarkably brave one. It is compelling and gripping. The horrors of man's inhumanity to man are presented unblinkingly Scotsman
Born in 1949, Boualem Sansal lives in Boumerd s, near Algiers. His first novel Le Serment des Barbares [The Barbarians' Sermon] (1999) won the Prix du Premier Roman. In 2003 he was dismissed from his government job for criticising the Algerian government and in 2006 his books were banned in his native country following the publication of an open letter to the Algerian government, Poste restante: Alger, lettre de col re et d'espoir mes compatriotes. Today he is considered not only one of Algeria's most important writers, but a literary figure of international stature. Frank Wynne has won three major prizes for his translations: the 2002 IMPAC for Atomised by Michel Houellbecq, the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Windows on the World by Fr d ric Beigbeder and the 2008 Scott Moncrieff Prize for Holiday in a Coma by the same author.