Translated by Terence Golding. This moving memoir by Jocelyne Laâbi chronicles her experience as the daughter of a French colonial who moved to Morocco from Lyon when she was very young. Her evocative and elegant recollections of the Morocco of her youth give way to her discovery of her father's dark past in France during the Second World War and her gradual awakening to the realities of colonial misrule and the early "années de plomb" ("years of lead") of Hassan II, as the Moroccan King tightened a violent grip on the country and its people. She then tells the story of her assimilation into Moroccan culture, culminating in her marriage to poet Abdellatif Laâbi and their collaboration on the influential literary/political journal Souffles and its Arabic counterpart, Anfas. Abdellatif's activism put him at odds with the repressive regime and earned him a ten-year sentence in one of the cruelest prison systems in North Africa, as Jocelyne struggled with the demands of her young family and became increasingly involved in the underground movement fighting for the rights of her husband and other political prisoners. The book is tribute to Jocelyne Laâbi's courage and her continuing love for the North African country and its people.
Literary Nonfiction. African & African American Studies. Women's Studies.
Jocelyne Laâbi was born in 1943 in Lyon, France. In 1950, with her family, she moved to Meknes, Morocco, where she attended primary and secondary school and later studied at the University in Rabat. She married Abdellatif Laâbi in 1964. Since 1985, she and her husband have lived in France. She has published, in both Morocco and France, several books for children based on Moroccan culture and traditions, the last of which was Avec la rivière mon conte s'en est allé (éditions Al Manar 2007 and 2018). In addition to her memoir La liqueur d'aloès (Editions de la Différence 2005 and 2015), her first novel Hérétiques (Editions de la Différence) appeared in 2013. She has also co- translated stories from Arabic into French by Palestinian authors, some short stories by Ghassan Kanafani (Retour à Haïfa et autres nouvelles, Actes Sud 1997) and a novel by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra (Le premier puits, Albin Michel 1993, and Le Serpent à plumes, 2003).
Author City: RABAT MOR