THE HONOR OF THE TRIBE by Rachid Mimouni


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 The pious, minuscule, barely noticeable Algerian village of Zitouna, home to not much more than groves of eucalyptus and histories of one group subjugating another (first local bandits named the Roumis, then the French colonizers), finds its existence threatened when one of its own black sheep--a bureaucrat with a shady past, Omar el Mabrouk--is reassigned by the central government in Algiers to become a provincial prefect. Out of spite and megalomania, he decides to make Zitouna the provincial seat--a modernization that first involves ripping out most of the eucalyptus (foreign contractors do this work; the villagers first think they are dwarves, so elfin are they against the scale of their enormous earth-moving machinery) and installing instead all the soulless buildings, the licentiousness, and the cynicism that the village up until then has avoided. Mimouni, an Algiers-based novelist, has a light touch and a taste for the comic grotesque--the foulmouthed and vengeful el Mabrouk is an entertaining cartoon--but beneath the folk-tale style lies a good taste of what the traditionalists and fundamentalists are making so successful a fuss over in Algeria at the moment. Intriguing.

Pub Date: July 21st, 1992
ISBN: 0-688-09746-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992