In Tangier by Mohamed Choukri

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"As I read Choukri's notes, I saw and heard Jean Genet as clearly as if I had been watching a film of him. To achieve such precision simply by reporting what happened and what was said, one must have a rare clarity of vision."—William Burroughs, from the introduction to Genet in Tangier

Tangier, "the most extraordinary and mysterious city in the world," according to Mohamed Choukri, was a haven for many Western writers in the early twentieth century. Paul Bowles, Jean Genet, and Tennessee Williams all spent time there, and each was in turn befriended by Choukri.

Collected here in one volume, for the first time in English, are his delightful recollections of these encounters, offering a truly fresh and unpretentious insight into the lives of these cult figures. Includes an afterword by Choukri previously published only in French.

As we walked, I showed Tennessee the Arabic translation of his play, and explained that the title in Arabic meant: A cat on the fire. I added that several of his plays, both full-length and one-acters, had been published in Arabic, as well as some of his short stories. I heard his noisy laugh for the first time. Many books, many boys!

Mohamed Choukri (1935–2003) is one of North Africa's most controversial and widely read authors. After a childhood of poverty and petty crime, Choukri learned to read and write at the age of twenty. He then became a teacher and writer, finally being awarded the chair of Arabic literature at Ibn Batuta College in Tangier.

 

About Mohamed Choukri

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Mohamed Choukri is one of North Africa's most respected and widely read authors. This poignant autobiographical novel, which spans the 1960s and '70s (together with his previous novel, For Bread Alone), ranks among the best works of contemporary Arabic literature
 
Published September 21, 2010 by Telegram Books. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Of Genet's oeuvre, Choukri seems to know only Le Journal de voleur, but the Frenchman for him is also the voice of Mallarme and the poetes maudits, Camus, Sartre, Dostoevsky -- a tradition of greatness unknown in Arabic culture.

Jul 01 1974 | Read Full Review of In Tangier

Publishers Weekly

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But it is Bowles (who translated the first two sections of this book as well as Choukri's For Bread Alone) who comes most to life with depth and honesty in a portrait that is not always flattering (it is here too that the city of Tangiers becomes another vibrant character): "Paul Bowles loves Mor...

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