Translated from Arabic by Siham Bouhlal
Hamid, barely sixteen years old, sells newspapers at the port. His mother decides to get him married because now that he brings back a few dirhams, he is a man. He is entitled to fruits, a shelter and a wife. But the street is his only school. With Life attempt, Mohamed Zafzaf's second novel published in 1985, Siham Bouhlal inaugurates a cycle of translations dedicated to this major author of Moroccan Arabic-speaking literature. It thus safeguards one of the most fertile imaginaries, often unknown to French-speaking readers. Sensitive to Zafzaf's style, she resonates the muffled rumours and deafening noises of a forgotten society. A book of topicality because, not long ago, the inclusion of Life attempt in school curricula had raised protests from those who judged the book “immoral”.
Mohamed Zafzaf (1945-2001) is the author of some twenty novels and short stories, including La Femme et la rose (1972) and L'œuf du coq (1984).
Siham Bouhlal was a student of Jamal Eddine Bencheikh and translated Al Washshâ's Le Livre de Brocart (Gallimard, 2004). She is a poetess, author notably of Songe d’une nuit berbère (Al Manar, 2007), Mort à vif (Al Manar, 2010), Poèmes bleus (Tarabuste, 2005), Princesse amazigh (story, Al Manar, 2009).