Synopses & Reviews
Moroccan filmmaker and author Taïa (An Arab Melancholia) uses monologues to describe the passions and torments of the brief life of Jallal. Jallal’s mother Slima was abandoned as a child and raised by Saâdia Tadlaoui—an introductrice or a woman “who helps couples unite on their wedding night.” Slima became a prostitute and as a boy in Salé Morocco Jallal is raped by some of Slima’s customers. When he is 13 his mother is taken by the secret police who rape and torture her for three years years that Jallal spends in Cairo. Slima reunites with Jallal in Cairo but also meets Mauod a Muslim convert from Belgium. The two fall in love and marry their passion for each other intertwined in their own form of Islam. In time Jallal finds his own soulmate in another Belgian convert Mahmoud a terminally ill young man. Together Mahmoud and Jallal find a way to enact one final expression of their love and pain. Taïa sharply etches the anguish and ecstasy of his characters. He is adept at depicting love for others as well as love for God alongside humanity’s capacity for great cruelty. This is an undeniably powerful work. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
Set in Sale, Morocco--the hometown Abdellah Taia fled but to which he returns again and again in his acclaimed fiction and films--Infidels follows the life of Jallal, the son of a prostitute witch doctor--"a woman who knew men, humanity, better than anyone. In sex. Beyond sex." As a ten-year-old sidekick to his mother, Jallal spits in the face of her enemies both real and imagined.
The cast of characters that rush into their lives are unforgettable for their dreams of love and belonging that unravel in turn. Built as a series of monologues that are emotionally relentless--a mix of confession, heart's murmuring, and shouting match--the book follows Jallal out of boyhood on the path to Jihad. It's a path that surprises even him.