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Under the Tripoli Sky

by Kamal Ben Hameda

Don't expect this novel to be plot driven with a gripping storyline. It's more of a social commentary of 1960's Tripoli. Hadachinou is a lonely boy growing up in a dominant matriarchal environment. This rather sweet and innocent little chap introduces us to colourful characters and shares coming-of-age experiences. A very easy to read which certainly won't haunt your dreams.

Extract

After a few days the prostitutes started noticing me.
My mouth hung open like a playful dog's, and I had no idea that the girls on the terrace of the brothel were stifling their laughter, pointing out my childish flabbergasted expression to each other. When one of them came down, took me by the hand and led me into that kingdom of half-naked bodies, I didn't put up any resistance.
Not many children lurked about in these places that bristled with various connoisseurs of fresh meat: English sailors on leave, dockworkers, Bedouins on a jaunt. They would tease me: 'Let's have a look at your little willy!' Then they'd invite me to share . . the precious chocolates the sailors had given them.
Translated by Adriana Hunter

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