Synopses & Reviews
“The Star of Algiers powerfully depicts youth in distress, caught between the lure of the West and the mosque." —BIBA
“We share his stage fright before each new gig. We are fired with his boundless energy. And once weve taken off, we come crashing down with him . . . Everything is human, alive and transparent.” —Elle, France
Moussa Massys ambitions extend far beyond the three-room apartment he shares with the other thirteen members of his family in Algiers. A gifted performer of modern Kabyle song, he is as inspired by Prince and Michael Jackson as he is by Arab and Algerian traditional music. His first taste of fame, however, is brief, as the conflict between the fundamental Islamic group FIS and the more progressive FLN grows more violent and the city comes to a standstill amid corruption and scandal. As his music career begins to disintegrate, like the city itself, Massys driving passion for music turns to unforgiving rage.
In energetic, urgent prose, Aziz Chouaki vividly portrays the harsh realities of a country in constant turmoil and brilliantly shows the capacity for despair and hatred of those who have nothing left to lose. Available for the first time in English, The Star of Algiers, a novel of great passion and originality, touches on the most contentious issues of our time.
A Lannan Translation Series Selection
"A young contemporary singer is caught in the political crossfire when a repressive Islamic regime seizes power in Algeria in Chouaki's first novel to be translated into English. Moussa Massy is the stage name of the talented first-person narrator, who dreams of stardom, his music a blend of Islamic melodies, African traditions and American pop influences. Moussa's dream comes true when his band begins climbing the local club ladder, and one of his songs hits the local charts and begins getting radio airplay. But darkly parallel to Moussa's rise is the ascent of the FIS, a Taliban-like Muslim party that uses brutality to enforce religious conformity. The effects are instantly deadly to Moussa's ambitions, as the thriving local club scene goes sour and the singer's creative friends scramble to get visas and leave the country. Chouaki's staccato, rapid-fire prose style works perfectly in the scenes designed to convey Moussa's frustration as his musical career stalls, his girlfriend leaves him for an arranged marriage and he struggles desperately to emigrate to France. But that same style seems too brisk in the final chapters as Chouaki sprints through Moussa's descent into drugs and alcohol and reveals his shocking final fate. Still, the novel's gripping narrative and political relevance make this a revelatory read. Agent, Cecile Dutheil de la Rochere at Editions Balland (France). (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
has written two other novels in French, Les Oranges
. He was born in Algiers in 1951, but has lived in France since 1991 for political reasons.