Literature and War Readalong July 29 2013: Children of the New World – Les enfants du nouveau monde by Assia Djebar

Children of The New World

Assia Djebar’s novel Children of the New WorldLes enfants du nouveau monde is the first novel about the war in Algeria in this readalong. Assia Djebar is one of the most important, if not the most important North African writer. She is also a translator, essayist and filmmaker.

I’ve been meaning to read her for years as I got other books by her on my piles and I’m glad to finally get a chance to do so.

She was the first writer from the Maghreb to be elected to the Académie Française in 2005. Djebar is known to be anti-patriarchal and anti-colonial; her novels focus on women’s lives. She writes in French, not in Arabic.

Children of the New World is about the war in Algeria from the point of view of the women.

Here are the first sentences

In the old Arab quarters at the foot of the mountain the whitewashed houses all look alike. Before the city grew larger, this was the only place where affluent families would come to find a bit of cool air, near the b rooks and orchards at the end of spring. Each home is at the end of a cup de sac, where, after wandering through a maze of silent little alleyways, one must stop. All that can be heard is some vague whispering suddenly interrupted by the shrill cries of children, whom the mothers are trying to keep at home, but to no avail. The military guard can show up any moment. Then there is barely enough time to gather the children and muffle their voices behind closed doors.


The discussion starts on Monday, 29 July 2013.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2013, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.

23 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong July 29 2013: Children of the New World – Les enfants du nouveau monde by Assia Djebar

  1. I’m really looking forward to this. I don’t think I have read any authors from this part of the world (certainly not recently) and nothing about the Algerian war. I already have my book sitting on my nightstand and may dip into it this weekend (I have a long weekend ahead of me for the holiday) to get a little taste! Looks like a great reading choice (and nice to have a variety from WWI & WWII–though of course I like reading about those too).

    • I haven’t read all that many authors from that region either and she is so well respected by many.
      It will be interesting. The book fits the bill nicely. I wanted to include women, fom other countries and cover lesser known wars.
      I also like it that she writes abiout it from a female perspective.

  2. I m not sure I be able get copy shame I like the other book by her I read and also have interest in the Algerian war as I wanting to read the Camus book of non fiction piece he wrote at the time ,which of course has just been translated ,all the best stu

    • It would be great if you could join but I don’t think many libraries have it.
      It was just repulished in French, it was out of print for a while.
      I’m glad to know you like her other work.
      I’ve read a lot of Camus but don’t know whether I’ve read that.

  3. This sounds like something I would really like to read. I know very little about the war in Algeria, especially from the standpoint of Algerian women.
    Caroline, have you seen the movie “Outremer”? It’s told from the viewpoint of three French women living in Algeria after WWII.

  4. This looks like a really interesting book, Caroline! I haven’t heard of Assia Djebar and so it will be fascinating to get to know more about her book through your review. The Algerian war from the perspective of the Algerian women of that time – that will be quite interesting. Happy reading!

  5. Unfortunately the library only has her Women of Islam. And there isn’t a Kindle version. Looking forward to your review–sounds so interesting.

  6. Looks like a great book. So few of these stories are told from women’s point of view. I look forward to reading your comments when you have finished. I would be tempted to join in on this one but I am a bit bogged down.

    • Don’t worry, you can always read it at a later date, if the reviews tempt you.
      It’s importnat to hear these stories as well. Ofte women and children are those who suffer the most.

  7. I won’t be able to readalong this time, but I’ll be VERY interested in the discussion. I love Assia Djebar, and have written about her as an academic critic (Les nuits de Strasbourg and Les femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement).

    • Les femmes d’Alger dans leur apartment interests me as well. The other one I have here is Ombre Sultane. I’m looking forward to the discussion as well.
      I hope there are a few joining.

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