L’amour seems to be connected with the eternal city of love: Paris. But I doubt Paris has more love than other cities or villages or even hamlets. It is a nice trick by marketeers and the message is passed on from one generation to the next.
The writer of this collection lives in France, the country that belongs to Paris. He was born in Morocco in the year 1944 and for over four decades he lives in France.
His 21 stories are about love. But not the happy love that is connected (falsely) with Paris. In all these stories love is a shattering experience, because love itself shatters in the collusion with men and women. In the world imagined by Jelloun people are unable to love one another. They are unable to commit themselves to someone else. There are thousand reasons for a breakup, for a love at a distance, for people to pass each other in the night.
In this way this book has a fringe of sadness. A fringe of unfulfillment. A harsh fringe that hurts people. Not even Paris, not even France, not even Morocco, not, even Jelloun is able to help people to find something, someone to fill their inner need and longing.
Tahar ben Jelloun – Le premier amour est toujours le dernier – Paris 1995