WEDDING BY THE SEA by Abdelkader Benali


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This unusual debut by a young Moroccan-born Dutch writer, which won major literary prizes in Holland and France, is a fragmented family chronicle doled out in stories shared by young Lamarat Minar and the garrulous taxi-driver “Bucket of Bolts” Chalid, who plays a raffish Sancho Panza to Lamarat’s reluctant quixotic searcher. Called home (from Holland) to his family’s native village (Iwojen), Lamarat is entrusted with rescuing his renegade uncle Mosa (a sybaritic Zorba the Moroccan, you might say) from the local whores, in time for Mosa’s (arranged) marriage to Lamarat’s virginal sister Rebekka. The novel’s rather forced earthiness scores intermittently, but is undercut by an inexplicably violent climactic action (intended “to save Mosa from a life of fornifuckation with other women”) and by a subtext that hints at (though Benali fails to develop) both the Minar family’s submerged passive-aggressiveness and Lamarat’s pretty evident misogyny. The result is a story that seems to withhold at least as much as it reveals.


Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-55970-530-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Arcade
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2000


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