Sara al-Nams

The main protagonist of J is a poor young man from the Algerian city of Oran who decides to travel to the desert to escape from his traumatic past. On the bus taking him south, he meets a mysterious young woman (called “J”) who astonishes him with her stories, including her shocking experience of abuse by her father. The novel explores the dreams and pain of Algerian young people, the memory of the 1990s Algerian civil war, the crisis of language and identity, and how an individual can belong to a country and yet be a foreigner to his/her own body. The two protagonists exchange dangerous confidences and confessions, until the heart of the truth is reached.  


Dar al-Adab


2021 Longlist