The Spartan Court

Abdelouahab Aissaoui

The Spartan Court follows the interconnected lives of five characters in Algiers from 1815 to 1833. The first is a French journalist covering the colonial campaign against Algeria and the second, a former soldier in Napoleon’s army, first finds himself a prisoner in the city and then a planner for the campaign. The other three Algerian characters have different attitudes to the Ottoman and French colonial powers. Ibn Mayyar thinks that politics is a means of building relationships with the Ottomans and even the French, whilst Hamma al-Salawi believes that revolution is the only means of achieving change. The fifth character, Douja, is suspended somewhere between all these: she witnesses the transformation of Algiers helplessly and is forced to become part of this changing world. For one must live according to the city’s rules, or one must leave. 


Dar Min


2020 Shortlist