A Palace in the Old Village: A Novel

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9780143118473: A Palace in the Old Village: A Novel

From "Morocco's greatest living author" (The Guardian), an internationally bestselling novel of universal appeal—about the powerful pull of home and the lengths to which a parent will go to bring his family together

Mohammed has spent the past forty years working in France. As he approaches retirement, he takes stock of his life—his devotion to Islam and to his assimilated children—and decides to return to Morocco, where he spends his life’s savings building the biggest house in the village and waiting for his children and grandchildren to come be with him.
 
A heartbreaking novel about parents and children, A Palace in the Old Village captures the sometimes stark contrasts between old- and new-world values, and immigrant’s abiding pursuit of home.

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About the Author:

Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in 1944 in Fez, Morocco, and emigrated to France in 1961. A novelist, essayist, critic, and poet, he is a regular contributor to Le Monde, La Republica, El País, and Panorama. His novels include The Sacred Night (winner of the 1987 Prix Goncourt), Corruption, and The Last Friend. Ben Jelloun won the 1994 Prix Maghreb, and in 2004 he won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for This Blinding Absence of Light.

From Booklist:

Mohammed Ben Abdallah has lived a devout, quiet life in France, always longing for his home country, Morocco. Now facing mandatory retirement from the factory where hes worked all of his adult life, he contemplates going home to Morocco for good. His dream is to build a house large enough for his six children and their families to join him. Though he loathes the forced retirement, Mohammed is gripped by this dream and starts construction on his dream house, even though his rebellious, thoroughly Westernized children show no interest in joining him at his house or forming much of a relationship with their old-fashioned father. Esteemed Moroccan author Ben Jalloun explores Mohammeds complicated feelings of ennui and alienation from the country that has been his home for decades and from his own children, whom he neither knows nor understands. The story builds to an end that seems as inevitable as it is symbolic of Mohammeds isolation within his own family. Lovers of literary fiction should take note of this affecting novel. --Kristine Huntley

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