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Rachel literally turns himself into a concentration camp victim, growing more emaciated and haunted until, head shaved and wearing striped pyjamas, he gasses himself on the anniversary of his father's death, "the day Hans Schiller finally eluded the justice of men. Sansal's own compulsion to tell the truth all over the world is hampered, sadly, by the reality that although The German Mujahid has won plaudits in France including the RTL-Lire Prize, has been translated into German and Hebrew, and is being published in separate American and British editions, not only are there no plans to translate it into Arabic, but Sansal's work is banned in Algeria.
The author, who refers to himself as "secular in every bone in my body," had published several novels that sold well in his home country, having turned to writing after retiring from his job as Director of the Algerian Ministry for Industry. But with the publication in of Poste restante: Alger. Lettre de colere et d'espoir a mes compatriots —an open letter to his fellow citizens decrying the Nationalist-Islamist regime, which he says is teaching young Algerians an edited version of history—all of his books were removed from shelves.
Such censorship is particularly ironic given Sansal's mission as an artist. In writing The German Mujahid he wanted, he says , "to ask what it might mean to take responsibility for ensuring that such crimes are never repeated," and the answer the novel gives is clear: it means heeding Primo Levi's insistence to "Remember these words…Repeat them to your children. Even the comfort of a hopeful conclusion is resisted; the closest thing to a consolation offered to the reader is the knowledge that Malrich will, as he promises, survive, and some day do what Rachel had wanted to: visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem: "I'll read the names aloud, and, after every one, I'll ask their forgiveness in my father's name.
Sansal is a novelist at the absolute height of his powers and has, in raking over such ugliness, created a work of extraordinary beauty. Tickets on sale now. Leave Your Comment.
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Henry Porter. Ruth Gruber. The Meursault Investigation. Kamel Daoud. A Most Wanted Man.
The German Mujahid
Journey from the Land of No. Roya Hakakian. The Ghost Runner. Parker Bilal. My Forbidden Face. Miernik Dossier. Charles McCarry. Shah of Shahs. Ryszard Kapuscinski. Arab Jazz. I Sleep in Hitler's Room. Tuvia Tenenbom.
The Patagonian Hare. Claude Lanzmann. Judith: A Novel. Lawrence Durrell. Boys in Zinc.
Svetlana Alexievich. The Silence and the Roar. Nihad Sirees.
More Books by Boualem Sansal & Frank Wynne
The View From The Ground. Martha Gellhorn. Selcuk Altun. All Russians Love Birch Trees. Olga Grjasnowa. Black Life.
The German Mujahid
Paul Johnston. Barbara Nadel. Shake Off. Mischa Hiller. The Iraqi Christ. Hassan Blasim. The Seventh Sanctuary. Daniel Easterman. Budayeen Nights. Barbara Hambly. Forbidden Love in St Petersburg. Mishka Ben-David. Stories From Iran. Heshmat Moayyad. The Book of Istanbul. Nedim Gursel. David Hare. Memories After My Death. Yair Lapid. Eli Amir. To Jerusalem and Back.
The German Mujahid – Boualem Sansal
Saul Bellow. Linda Grant. A Good Place to Die. James Buchan. Joumana Haddad. Night Thoughts. Wallace Shawn. Young Turk. Moris Farhi. The Last Assassin. To Algeria, With Love. Suzanne Ruta. I Am Istanbul. Buket Uzuner. The Lost Word. Oya Baydar. The Other Side of the Curtain. Cora Buhlert. A Country of Refuge. Lucy Popescu.