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The Last Patriarch

by Najat El Hachmi

Everything clashes in this novel - a father and his daughter, the two cultures of Morocco and Catalonia, as well as the pressures of familial duty against personal desire. It's a tale of abuse, growing up, and the difficulties of migration. Serious topics, but the light tone makes this potentially distressing story palatable.

Extract

Mimoun had almost finished, and he'd shut one eye to look at the row he'd just laid to check it was straight, when his uncle said, so, your wife's missing you, is she? Nothing would have gone awry if his uncle hadn't carried on and specified what exactly she might be missing. You know what I mean, when women are virgins they don't need it, but if yours has got used to .... He didn't have time to finish his sentence. Mimoun struck him with the handle of the trowel he was holding and the cement must have stuck in his uncle's hair. My wife's not a whore like yours, right? Don't ever talk to me like that again, he probably said as he went on kicking him. I'm not a poof like you, he must have said, his round eyes bulging and his brows knitting as they tended to when things didn't turn out as he'd like.
Translated by Peter Bush

Parallels

The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi
 

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