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A Palace in the Old Village

by Tahar Ben Jelloun

At first glance this unusual short novel about a Moroccan immigrant worker in Paris may not have instant appeal. Mohammed's life is mundane concerned mainly with his work at a car factory and his family life. However, such is the quality of the writing that you soon become totally engaged with his thoughts, his philosophy and his dreams for the future. In later chapters, there are some beautiful and atmospheric descriptions of Morocco.

Extract

He'd never thought the ax would fall so soon, so brutally. He was stunned. Lost. And already in mourning, because there was no escape from retirement, or, as he called it, 'tirement'. No matter how often his children corrected him, he still said 'tirement'. That was his invisible, two-faced enemy, because even though for some people it represented freedom, to him it meant the end of life. Period. The end of everything.
Translated by Linda Coverdale

Parallels

Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
 

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