This novel is “The road to the north”. The road stretches from Morocco to France (via Spain) and finally the protagonist reaches The Netherlands and its capital Amsterdam.
The writer Naima El Bezaz was born in the year 1974 in Meknes (Morocco), when she was four years old she moved with her family to a small town in The Netherlands. She did her A levels and studied Law at Leiden University. This is her debut as a novelist.
This a story about the search for a job and happiness. Ghali is unable to find both or even one of both in his hometown of Meknes (where Naima was born). His longing for the road to the north is growing. He is even willing to leave his wife Fatima to pursue his dreams he dreams in clear daylight. The story scuttles back and forth to sketch the background of Ghali.
One day me meets Sadi, whom he met when he was very young. Sadi now is a flashy young man, who divides his time between France and Morocco. The longing to travel north blinds Ghali who is unable to see in what kind of world he is entering when he broaches the subject of the road north with Sadi. Sadi is able to help him, he has his contacts, as long as Ghali will handover a substantial sum of money.
And Ghali is slipsliding away on this slippery slope. In the end he reaches Paris and finds lodgings with a on of a friend of his uncle who took care of Ghali for many years. But the past and the bleak future and Sadi (and his boss Yassine) are never far away.
He moves on to Amsterdam, and enters again the world of illegality. What to do? How to make money? How to fend of those who want to harm him? Ghali has to decide who call for help.
When Naima published this book she was still very young (21 years), she has done a good job, showing the difficulties not just on the road, but also the longings for a decent future, the firm relationships that are at the same time very fragile. The prospects are bleak, very bleak. Living down and out is not a happy option. Cut off from the past and the future. The story was and is still very relevant. The novel slowly and steadily moves towards the end, an open end.
Naima El Bezaz – De weg naar het noorden – 1995