So Vast the Prison

So Vast the Prison

Book - 1999
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Translated from the French by Betsy Wing
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Seven Stories Press, c1999.
Edition: Seven Stories Press 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9781583220092
Branch Call Number: FIC/Djeba 6173cg 1
Characteristics: 363 p.


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noir125 Sep 01, 2015

Mme Djebar writes intensely from her heart about a human rights infraction on an unimaginable scale, a world few westerners knew existed until the US military incursion into the Middle East in the 2000s. At first glance this (and other works of hers) seem to be literary journalism, creative nonfiction, a long essay on political theme and context. It turns out to be all of this and more, the author putting the autobiographical into fictional persona and setting. She creates incident to form good, rounded stories, but the sharpness of experiential truth overrides fiction. I've read long sections in French of Les nuits de Strasbourg, and Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade over and over again, but not cover to cover because her style is glutted so with dense imagery, it's prose poetic and not easily digested even when translated to English.

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