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For Bread Alone Paperback – 22 Jun 2006
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'A true story of human desperation, shattering in its impact.' --Tennessee Williams
'Five stars ... Achingly elegant ... Choukri's irrepressible, ultimately indomitable spirit is most touching and human.' --The Independent
'A book to read, cherish and remember - and to show us again why we need books as well as bread.' --Morning Star
Driven by famine from their home in the Rif, Mohamed's family walks to Tangiers in search of a better life. But things are no better there. Eight of Mohamed's siblings die of malnutrition and neglect, and one is killed by his father in a fit of rage. On moving to another province, Mohamed learns how to charm and steal, and discovers the joys of drugs, sex, and alcohol. Proud, insolent, and afraid of no-one, he returns to Tangiers, where he is caught up in the violence of the 1952 independence riots. It is here, during a short spell in a filthy Moroccan jail, that a fellow inmate kindles Mohamed's life-altering love of literature.See all Product description
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There are many funny parts to this book as well and you always have the feeling that he'll be alright.
I loved this book & have read it twice, its a book that makes me feel full of hope. Mohamed Choukri has come through these hardships, dealt with the death of his sisters, educated himself and is a great role-model for any young man in Morocco today.
I would strongly reccommend this book to anyone.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I slept with prostitutes and drank wine with them. I smuggled watches from the foreign ship and was pursued by the Customs officials. I joined in the demonstration against French colonialism and was attacked by the police. Now I am inclined to learn Arabic, like Mohamed, who bought a primer of Arabic and began to learn the language. His family was so poor that he did not have any chance to learn how to read and write it, until he was twenty years old. I have jut spent a couple of days in the Moroccan dream world.
I confess to having a special reason for reading this book. Since I spent some time in the early 1980s in Oran, Algeria, I have been intrigued with the peoples of North Africa. And this book takes place in many of the cities and towns that are familiar to me. What surprises is to see that even though there was a good thirty years difference between the time this story took place and the 1980s, there were vestiges that for some, things still remained. I can only hope that there has been considerable improvement in the past 20 years.
This is a book that makes us think. And even though the subject: a disenfranchised youth in the life of petty crimes in the fringe of society is not unusual in the literature of developing countries, it is important to return to these themes once in a while, getting out of our comforatble, well educated bubbles, and rethink our own contributions to world around us.
I am a better person for having read this book. That's a sign of excellence.