The Country of Others
Author: Leïla Slimani
9780571361625 | PB | pp. 336 | 2021 | Faber and Faber
This is the story of a Frenchwoman, married to a Moroccan soldier, whose fierce desire for autonomy parallels her adopted country’s struggle for freedom.
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Alsace, 1944. Mathilde finds herself falling deeply in love with Amine Belhaj, a Moroccan soldier, billeted in her town, fighting for the French.
After the Liberation, Mathilde leaves France, following Amine to Morocco. But life here is unrecognizable to this brave and passionate young woman. Where she she once danced, bickered with her sister, her life is now that of a farmer’s wife – with all the sacrifices and vexations that brings.
Suffocated by the heat, by her loneliness on the farm, by the mistrust she inspires as a foreigner and by the lack of money Mathilde grows restless. As Morocco’s own struggle for independence grows daily, Mathilde and Amine find themselves caught in the crossfire . . .
This story of two nations at war, two cultures at loggerheads, and one family torn apart is as tenderly observed as it is devastatingly true.
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