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Sardines and Oranges: Short Stories from North Africa

by Latifa Baqa and others

Not so much the atmosphere and culture of North Africa comes through, more the inside experience of various childhoods and disrupted families. If there is a common feel, it is the incredulity and anger that European domination provokes. For anyone who wants an under-the-skin taste of the aspirations and frustrations of growing up in diverse Arab cultures.

Extract

Even in Morocco we have people, like those foreigners, who cannot digest anything, even things like mutton, beef or rabbit. One of the boys who split the box of beautiful lively fish told me that he worked in the home of one of those rich Moroccans, who would have parties with roast lamb, chicken and lots of fruit and fish. But the man could not eat and would have a bowl of soup without any spices. He explained that it was because of his illicit food. Oh, my God! How much better it is that a person can eat rotten sardines and oranges from a hole in the ground than to have an illicit gut!
Translated by Ali Azeriah and others

Parallels

Only in London by Hanan al-Shaykh
The Mimic Men by V S Naipaul
 

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