This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun
A Novel

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A shocking story set in Morocco's desert concentration camps, from the Prix Goncourt-winning novelist. An immediate and critically acclaimed bestseller in France, This Blinding Absence of Light is Tahar Ben Jelloun's crafting of a horrific real-life narrative into a work of fiction. "In this deeply moving novel," says L'Express, "Tahar Ben Jelloun has chosen imagination as the response to inhumanity—the art of writing as the ultimate liberation." He tells the appalling story of the desert concentration camps in which King Hassan II of Morocco held his political enemies. Not until September 1991, under international pressure, was Hassan's regime forced to open these desert hellholes. A handful of survivors—living cadavers who had shrunk by over a foot in height—emerged from the six-by-three-foot cells in which they had been held underground for decades. Working closely with one of the survivors, Ben Jelloun eschewed the traditional novel format and wrote a book in the simplest of language, reaching always for the most basic of words, the most correct descriptions. The result is "a great novel," according to Le Monde, and what Les Échos calls "a book of universal import, addressing all the horrors, past and doubtless future, that man has inflicted on his fellow men."

About Tahar Ben Jelloun

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Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in Fez, Morocco, and immigrated to France in 1961. A novelist, essayist, critic, and poet, he is a regular contributor to Le Monde, La Républica, El País, and Panorama.
Published January 31, 2006 by Penguin Books. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for This Blinding Absence of Light

The Guardian

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This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun, translated by Linda Coverdale 195pp, New Press, £14.99 On July 10 1971, 1,000 Moroccan soldiers were herded into trucks and taken to the palace of Skhirat, where King Hassan II was celebrating his 42nd birthday.

Jul 24 2004 | Read Full Review of This Blinding Absence of Ligh...

Publishers Weekly

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(May 1)Forecast:Jelloun, a high-profile novelist (Corruption) and critic in Europe who writes regularly for the major dailies of several countries, will likely be feted by intellectual journals in the U.S., but chances are this novel won't receive the kind of attention it did in France, where it ...

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Curious Book Fans

I would have appreciated perhaps some more information about the man, identified only once – on the cover – as Salim – whose story Tahar Ben Jelloun has reported in his book.

Sep 13 2011 | Read Full Review of This Blinding Absence of Ligh...

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