BAB EL-OUED by Merzak Allouache


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Predictably “cinematic,” this energetic novel by a famed Algerian film director deftly surveys the embattled populace of a poor section of Algiers ruled by a platitudinous and ingenuous “Imam” and rife with both sexual tension and militant Islamic political activity. The stories of teenaged “baker’s boy” Boualem, “trabendo” (contraband) smuggler Mabrouk, neighborhood sociopath Said, and their several women and co-conspirators are efficiently juxtaposed in a briskly paced narrative adapted from Allouache’s 1993 film version. Reading the book makes you eager to see the movie.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-89410-859-X
Page count: 150pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1998