The Watchers by Tahar Djaout

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Synopsis

The renowned author of The Last Summer of Reason achieved his greatest acclaim for this elegant, chilling novel, winning France's prestigious Prix Mditerrane in 1991. The Watchers is a politically and morally resonant fable of malevolent bureaucracy, thoughtless fundamentalism, and the danger of sacrificing liberty in the name of patriotism.

With equal parts sensuous prose and passionate politics, The Watchers follows the fortunes of two men during one sweltering North African summer. Menouar Ziada, a veteran on the winning side of past wars, is living out a peaceful life and dreaming of a country home. Just down his suburban street, inventor Mahfoudh Lemdjad has developed a loom that he desperately wants to patent. Unfortunately, he soon finds himself caught in a Kafka-esque tangle of forms, passports, interviews, and clerks bent on thwarting his efforts. At the same time, Mahfoudh's mysterious project and odd hours dredge up old, suspicious instincts in Menouar and his fellow veterans, drawing them inexorably further into a labyrinth of blame and fear from which there's only one escape.Algerian author Tahar Djaout has become known as a journalist and political figure since his assassination in 1993 by an Islamic fundamentalist group for the effects of his "fearsome pen." During his life, Djaout was also regarded as one of Algeria's finest novelists and the spearhead of a renaissance in native North African (Maghrebi) arts and culture. With The Watchers, readers have an opportunity to experience this incisive writer at his finest-and, at a time when American civil liberties are constantly losing out to "national security" concerns, to contemplate the dark consequences of a culture of suspicion.

Praise for The Last Summer of Reason:

"An elegiac ode to literature and a furious protest against intolerance."-The New York Times Book Review

"A chilling cautionary tale."-Philadelphia Enquirer

 

About Tahar Djaout

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Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. Her novels include: Truth or Dare, All Night Long, and Copper Beach. She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
 
Published October 1, 2002 by Ruminator Books. 180 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When Mahfoudh tries to apply for a patent at the town office, he encounters such hostility from the bureaucrats, who have never dealt with a patent application before, that he decides to pursue matters back in the city.

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Publishers Weekly

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Tahar Djaout, Algerian author of The Last Summer of Reason, was killed in 1993 at the age of 39 in an attack attributed to an Islamic fundamentalist group.

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