Life Attempt

Mohamed Zafzaf

Virgule Éditions




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).