Friday, 6 July 2012
would be, I suppose, the title in English of this book, Le Porte-Monnaie, by Ali Mansour. Although if I were translating it I would probably choose another title. I cannot find that it has been translated into English, but it should be. If anyone's listening out there, me! I'll do it! Ali Mansour is Tunisian, the son of a Tunis docker, and he now lives in Strasbourg. I read his book because it is the French book our new book group is going to talk about in September. I had not heard of it, or him, before. It is a wonderful book. Set in the Tunisia of Ben-Ali, now mercifully departed, its hero is a wise child, the 12-year-old Souleymane, and its heart is a mystery. Where did the purse of money come from? What did Souleymane's mother do when she left him alone? Why did the police chief play out the cruel piece of theatre he did? Because he could? Or for darker reasons? I could see this as a film - reading it I could smell the spices and harissa and the rain on the pavements. It is a study in corruption and redemption and revenge. If you can read French read it immediately. btw the French is simple - I could read it easily with no dictionary and that is certainly not true of everything I read in French.