A Tunisian Tale by Hassouna Mosbahi, Max Weiss

By Hassouna Mosbahi, Max Weiss

After ne'er-do-wells unfold rumors a couple of widowed mother's susceptible ethical personality one of the humans of a slum at the outskirts of Tunis that festers with migrants who've come to the city from the heartland looking for a greater existence, her twenty-year-old son takes concerns into his personal fingers and commits an unspeakable crime. An imaginitive and anxious novel informed from the alternating viewpoints of this unrepentant sociopath, as he sits and fumes on dying row yet willingly courses us via his juvenile exploits and twisted thoughts, and his murdered mom, who lightly provides an account of her interrupted existence from past the grave, A Tunisian story introduces the narrative skills of Hassouna Mosbahi to an English-language viewers for the 1st time, as he confronts either taboos of Tunisian society and the limits of traditional storytelling.

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Example text

Let me return to Saeed’s wife, in order to say that nobody could stop talking about her. I’m certain that every prisoner used to sleep holding her body, imagining himself as that young man whom she chose as her lover, and who would fuck her until dawn, even as out there, far away, in the arid desert of the Persian Gulf, her duped husband loudly snored away. That’s right, even if she were rotting bones, a woman could inflame the imagination of those deprived men behind the high walls and the metal bars.

From the start Luke attracts the attention of the other prisoners with his defiant behavior and crafty smile, his irresistible attractiveness. indd 50 4/10/11 9:25 AM by evil deeds in the world and by whatever physical or spiritual harm he may have personally caused. Even after he is viciously defeated in a boxing match he still manages to make his presence felt in that horrible place, filled with the most hardened criminals and killers, the most dishonest and unscrupulous people. Thanks to his intelligence, cleverness, and biting wit, as well as some tricks that demonstrate his cunning and shrewdness when the situation demands it, he earns the respect and friendship of the other prisoners.

For the most part I showed great talent in the games that mattered to them. That strengthened my influence and power among them. It was clear that every one of them wanted me to be for him and him alone. And out of jealousy, fierce battles would break out between this one or that one from time to time. But as soon as I intervened it would die out as quickly as it had been sparked, except I rarely did that because it used to appease my arrogance and my vanity to see them brawling over me and because of me, before they had even reached legal age, while I was still a little girl playing in the sand, one who hadn’t even sprouted breasts yet.

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