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The Bottom of the Jar is the journey of a boy finding his footing in the heart of Fez during the 1950s, as Morocco began freeing itself from the grip of the French colonial occupation. The narrator vividly recalls his first encounters with the ebullient city, family dramas, and the joys and turbulence of his childhood. He recalls a renegade, hashish-loving uncle, who at nightfall transforms into a beloved Homer, his salt-of-the-earth mother¢s impassioned pleas to a Divine ear, and his father¢s enduring generosity. Told in the spirit of a late-night ramble among friends where hilarious anecdotes and poignant recollections flow in equal parts, Laâbi¢s autobiographical novel offers us a generous glimpse into the formative experiences of a great poet, whose integrity and commitment to social justice earned him an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence during Morocco¢s "year of lead" in The 1970s.
Finally available in English, Le Règne de la barbarie by Abdellatif Laâbi is one of the most daring poetic visions of the second half of the twentieth century. First published in 1976 when Laabi was serving an eight-year prison sentence (1972-1980) for 'crimes of opinion' against the Moroccan State, The Rule of Barbarism is a devastating flight through consciousness, acquainting the reader with the trials of a society caught between a colonial past and the tragic realities of a brutal dictatorship. Analysing the presence of 'barbarism' inherent in all of us, and yet deepening our capacity for compassion despite the allure of revenge, this stunning debut from a writer on the threshold of a groundbreaking career can be read as an epic of love, empathy, anger and despair--and is as resonant today as when composed nearly fifty years ago.
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