Marouane, Leila 1960-

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MAROUANE, Leila 1960-

PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Algeria. Education: Studied at University of Algiers and University of Paris VIII.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Quartet Books, 27 Goodge St., London W1P 2LD, England.

CAREER: Le Monde, Paris, France, journalist, 1990; journalist in Algiers, Berlin, Zurich, and Paris; fulltime writer, 1996—.

WRITINGS:

La fille de la Casbah, Juilliard (Paris, France), 1996.

Ravisseur, Juilliard (Paris, France), 1998.

Le chatiment des hypocrites, Seuil (Paris, France), 2001.

The Abductor, Quartet (London, England), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS: Leila Marouane left her home in Algeria in 1990 to go to France to train as a journalist. After receiving the training she needed, Marouane worked in Algiers, Berlin, Zurich, and Paris. Her first novel, La fille de la Casbah, was published in 1996. "Marouane's oppositional testimony takes a more indirect, metaphorical form," stated Susan Ireland of World Literature Today. She noted that the book "uses the female protagonist's search for freedom and modernity to make an impassioned indictment of what post-independence Algeria has brought to the populace as a whole and to women in particular."

Le chatiment des hypocrites is the story of a woman who goes through traumatic hardships in her homeland of Algeria, before fleeing to Paris to live in the immigrant community. "This story highlights the incompatibility of French and Islamic cultures," stated a reviewer for French Book News. "Marouane has an extraordinary ability to paint and develop her characters." The reviewer stated, "This violent and tragic story provides us with an insight into the hard-ships of daily life as experienced by the displaced and by those who have escaped their cultural heritage."

Marouane made her debut in English in 2001, with The Abductor, a story of a man who disclaims his wife after she leaves the house without his permission. He feels remorseful after the fact; however, in the Muslim culture, the only way he can remarry his wife is if she marries another man who also disowns her. He plots with his peculiar neighbor to win his wife back. Unfortunately the plan fails when the neighbor runs off with the wife, leaving him to care for his six children. "This initially comic novel descends into tragedy," according to Andrea Kempf of Library Journal. According to Susan Ireland in World Literature Today, Marouane's display of the father as "a grotesque figure who terrorizes his family and seeks solace in alcohol, represents the patriarchal order and repression of women." "Both father and daughter are the victims of violence associated with the reign of terror in Algeria," surmised Ireland. The narrator of the story is the man's eldest daughter who "loses touch with reality" and begins to make "surreal interpretations of events," stated Ireland. Kempf parallels the father-daughter relationship with the current state of Algeria, noting, "Physical disfigurement and mental instability, mirror the fate of the country ravaged by violent conflict." A critic for Publishers Weekly called Marouane's writing "lovely, lilting, and sometimes devastatingly direct," and dubbed The Abductor "a gem."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, November 15, 2001, Andrea Kempf, "The Rich World of Islam," p. 128.

Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2001, review of The Abductor, p. 59.

World Literature Today, summer-autumn, 2001, Susan Ireland, review of The Abductor, p. 113.

ONLINE

French Book News,http://www.frenchbooknews.org.uk/ (April 16, 2002).*