Jean Genet in Tangier by Mohamed Choukri ; Translated by Paul Bowles ; Introduction by William Burroughs
New York : The Ecco Press, 1974. First American Edition; first printing. Hardcover. 76 pages ; photographic illustrations ; 24 cm. $5.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Musty odor to pages. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.
This is a factual account of a series of meetings in Tangier between the French writer and a young Moroccan who ran after him in the street and introduced himself. Surprisingly, Genet proved to be an ideal subject for this informal sort of approach, and the suspicious hostility he regularly evinced when confronted by inquisitive Europeans was quickly replaced by sympathy and candor. After each meeting with Genet, Mohamed Choukri hurried home to write down all that bad been said and done. The following year when Genet returned to Tangier the friendship was resumed, Choukri continuing to make daily notes on their conversations. The result is not only an unexpected view of the highly secretive Frenchman, but also a fascinating picture of cafe life in this city, with its unlikely jumble of individuals who seem to have nothing in common beyond the fact that they have happened to meet at this cultural crossroads at the entrance to the Mediterranean.
MOHAMED CHOUKRI was born at Beni Chiker in the Rif, in 1935, a few years before famine drove his parents into exile and poverty in Tangier. His childhood and adolescence were spent fighting in the battle for survival, and it was not until he was in his twenty-first year that he decided to learn to read and write. Once he had mastered Arabic script and grammar, he began to write poetry and fiction. Soon his work was appearing in the literary magazines of Lebanon and Iraq. His autobiography, For Bread Alone, has been published in England. At present he is on the faculty of the College Ibn Batuta in Tangier.
PAUL BOWLES, the translator, first settled in North Africa in 1931. The greater part of his writing deals with that corner of the world. His translations from Moghrebi Arabic include A Life Full of Holes (Charhadi) and four books by Mohammed Mrabet: The Boy Who Set The Fire, The Lemon, M'Hashish and Love With A Few Hairs, as well as Choukri's For Bread Alone.
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