Women of Algiers in their Apartment
by Assia Djebar
The cloth edition of Assia Djebar’s Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, her first work to be published in English, was named by the American Literary Translators Association as an ALTA Outstanding Translation of the Year. Now available in paperback, this collection of three long stories, three short ones, and a theoretical postface by one of North Africa’s leading writers depicts the plight of urban Algerian women who have thrown off the shackles of colonialism only to face a postcolonial regime that denies and subjugates them even as it celebrates the liberation of men. Denounced in Algeria for its political criticism, Djebar’s book quickly sold out its first printing of 15,000 copies in France and was hugely popular in Italy. Her stylistically innovative, lyrical stories address the cloistering of women, the implications of reticence, the connection of language to oppression, and the impact of war on both women and men. The Afterword by Clarisse Zimra includes an illuminating interview with Djebar.