Last week I paid attention to a book by Taïa, now another book written by him has been taken from the shelf by me. I did not read these books in chronological order, but I think that is not a problem. In both books we see the prosaic verson of Abdellah Taïa, for there are a number of biographical identifiers in these books.

In the present book (The Salvation Army) he writes about his younger years, his parents and his elder brother Abdelkébir and the other children. He adores his elder brother and even at times he thinks that he has fallen in love with his brother. He wants to be close to his brother, during the daytime and during the nighttime. When his brothers marries he is jealous. His brother is his he does not belong to someone else. 

One day his brother takes two younger brothers for a week of holidays. One day Abdelkédir has to leave his brothers on their own. At that very same day Abdellah is lured by an elder man to the cinema and Abdellah has a sexual experience. 

The same happens many years later when he gets involved with the Swiss teacher Jean. They stay together during holidays in Morocco and in Switzerland. Like in his other book there is a lack of fullfilment, a casualness in his relations, that can hardly be called relations. In the end, when he has reached Geneve for studies, he is on his own. There is no-one to pick him up at the airport, he ends up in a hostel run by the Salvation Army. Here he meets people who stretch out a helping hand. 

He has entered a world of clashes, different cultures meet, different religions meet, different traditions meet and this young may, this confused young man, this man on the run, this young man in search of his identity needs an army to fight for his salvation. 

Abdellah Taïa – L’armée du salut –  2006


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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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