web site hit counter Women of Algiers in Their Apartment - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

Availability: Ready to download

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 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.


Compare

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 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.

30 review for Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

  1. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    3.5/5 There are books that, once read, prove themselves more yardstick than treasure map. All works are a measure of both, but whether it is due to the simple nature of this work in particular or my still uncomfortable state as an unemployed Bachelor's in English, I fell short of its mark and my goal. While I deeply appreciate the gloriously informative afterword, part review, part biography, part onlooker to a grand and singularly authorial quest, I would have to pretend to graciously accept its 3.5/5 There are books that, once read, prove themselves more yardstick than treasure map. All works are a measure of both, but whether it is due to the simple nature of this work in particular or my still uncomfortable state as an unemployed Bachelor's in English, I fell short of its mark and my goal. While I deeply appreciate the gloriously informative afterword, part review, part biography, part onlooker to a grand and singularly authorial quest, I would have to pretend to graciously accept its enthusiastic answers to the questions I was supposed to have but never managed to ask. Critical rejection of what one has to offer has its uses, especially it if is an understanding and honestly helpful sort, but there is always the matter of putting food on the table, and that as of now is hitting harder than usual. I have no idea why I added this book. Usually I can parse a clue from a networked review or an entry on an esteemed list, but none of that readily reveals itself on this website's hyperlinks. I ask because, from what I've learned over the years of excavating my tastes, this is one of the worst ways to introduce me to a new author. Short stories are still not my favorite, and while someone like Flannery O'Connor can fly by me on them at first sight, I doubt that would have happened had she needed a translation from a country more foreign than the much northerly-maligned South. Thus, it would have been better for me to go the feminine bildungsroman route of Fantasia, which in addition to being more relatable (to an extent) also is more popular and more reviewed by my on hand associates, allowing for more gazes trained towards the subject than the number that spawned the image that graces both front cover and academic analysis. I've added it accordingly, and refuse to think of it in terms of "too little, too late". That's what rereading is for, even if it takes a succession of such. While the book and I didn't ride off into the sunset as much as I would have hoped, I'm still disappointed that Djebar did not receive a Nobel Prize for Lit. Those in power could have afforded to understood her aspirations and her life's work far better than I could manage at the moment, and the fact that 78 years wasn't long enough for her to work her way past the mundanities of yet another man and/or white person is shame. Yes, yes, it's all an ivory tower onanism, but much as Christmas still has a special place in my cold and money grubbing heart, the beginning of October is what I will be cheering for after the Olympics and the football season and whatever else the usual folks are cheering about this time. In other words, don't let my hit and miss upset you. Those who aspire to the heights of experimental brutality are in for a treat.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda

    Well, this is a book that deals with so many issues – feminism, language, nationalism, colonialism, history and place, and how all of these are inter-related. Basically, too much for me to handle without writing some sort of thesis-length paper (and I am sure there are people who have written theses on this book), so I will apologise in advance if this review is partial (in the sense of not enough). Also, I feel like I need to apologise for attempting to write on this book without being familiar Well, this is a book that deals with so many issues – feminism, language, nationalism, colonialism, history and place, and how all of these are inter-related. Basically, too much for me to handle without writing some sort of thesis-length paper (and I am sure there are people who have written theses on this book), so I will apologise in advance if this review is partial (in the sense of not enough). Also, I feel like I need to apologise for attempting to write on this book without being familiar with any of Djebar’s other writings or her films. But this book is so, so good that I want to tell everyone how fantastic it is. My review will be in two parts: Djebar’s story-telling/ the stories in this volume, and Djebar’s ideas. Mostly because I think her beautiful prose and storytelling would be lost in my attempt to sort out her complex interpretations of feminism, colonialism, and subjectivity. But, really, because of views on language, the two elements are importantly connected. Djebar’s storytelling Djebar's stories in this volume bring us into the daily intimacies of a varied group of mostly women (there are a few male voices, but this is mostly a gyno-centric history of Algeria and its people), replete with all of their relationship-negotiating interactions (so many relationships!!! and so many small ways that we have to negotiate them!!!) and small and large decisions. These are stories of Algerian households and how they are made, remade and how they sometimes, fall apart in times of war and political tumult. Djebar’s time period ranges from pre-colonial, to colonial/ war, to post-colonial/ the aftermath of the war. And her women are just as varied – Educated, illiterate, high social position or abject social positioning, wives, widows, unmarried, mothers, child-less (and she emphasizes the ‘less’ part rather than the increasingly popular term of ‘child-free’ that I know some women today prefer, because this is how these women view themselves)… Their inner lives are vibrant, bursting, constantly pressing against the weight of social constraints. It works against that image of Delacroix’s ‘women of Algiers in their Apartment’ where his women gaze heavy-lidded, soft-bodied and utterly passive. Delacroix’s Algerian women are sultanas, Djebar’s are anything but. Her story-telling approach consists of sketching out in the vaguest forms the backgrounds of the action we as reader are witness to. We slowly piece together where each character is coming from, what their concerns are, on what their suffering is based. And once the tableau is complete your appreciation of the lives of these characters is somehow enhanced by this slow, discrete and respectful revelatory process.... Yeah, it is hard to describe how deeply her writing affected my in terms of building a connection to the people who inhabit her stories. Djebar's Ideas As for her perspectives on the social and political worlds and lives of women in Algeria she says this in her preface: "Don't claim to speak for, or worse, speak on, barely speaking next to, and if possible very close to: these are the first of the solidarities to be taken on by the few Arabic women who obtain or acquire freedom of movement, of body and of mind.” The book itself was intended to be read by Algerians, but was not well-received there. Like many of her contemporaries in the genre of contemporary Arab women’s literature, Djebar is faced with censorship and the increasingly potent influence of Islamist groups and authoritarian governments over the dissemination of contrary gender ideologies, especially those which are produced by women themselves. Djebar counter the patriarchal with a gynocentric approach to reconfiguring the socio-historical puzzle. I agree with her that the best way to counter this hegemonic ideology is with a multitude of voices. And yet with all that diversity she still manages to show how Women of Algiers in their Apartment refers to the compartmentalization of women and their neo-harems in a changing Algerian society. In the interview section of the book Djebar discusses how language is fundamental to her probing of (or is it transgressing?) the patriarchal gender dynamic that she sees and has experienced. She wanted to utilize a colloquial Arabic that she connects to how some of her confined (and ostensibly uneducated?) women speak within their walls. As this is a work translated into English from the French, I am blind to these subtleties of language. She talks about language elsewhere in a way that makes me think I am confused about her position on language in this text. I am pretty sure that the book is also in part an allegory for Algeria in its post-colonial era, though as usual for me, I only see this allegory in tiny little flashes and would probably need to read it several times (at least) to see it. I am also not very well-versed in Algerian history so...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Probably one of the best books I read this past year. The stories in this are wide ranging, but nearly all of them are concerned with the lives (inner and otherwise) of Algerian women throughout history (though most are rooted in the 20th century, both before and after the Algerian struggle for independence from French colonial rule). The title story was probably my favorite: it's a sprawling story that goes in and out of the consciousness and experiences of different women living in Algiers. Th Probably one of the best books I read this past year. The stories in this are wide ranging, but nearly all of them are concerned with the lives (inner and otherwise) of Algerian women throughout history (though most are rooted in the 20th century, both before and after the Algerian struggle for independence from French colonial rule). The title story was probably my favorite: it's a sprawling story that goes in and out of the consciousness and experiences of different women living in Algiers. There's a particularly poetic passage dedicated to the women who actively participated in the struggle for independence during the revolution, les porteuses de feu, that I really loved

  4. 4 out of 5

    Victor Lopez

    For a long time now, the Western world has seen Arab countries as being this magical place of genies, women who are only there to be sexed, they have basically placed the many countries under their own, man made, veil. This allows for Western leaders to point to Arab countries and say, “Look there, we treat our women so much better.” Those folks point to the “other” to make themselves look better. Those who want to look deeper and think more globally, will turn to novels such as this to leaven t For a long time now, the Western world has seen Arab countries as being this magical place of genies, women who are only there to be sexed, they have basically placed the many countries under their own, man made, veil. This allows for Western leaders to point to Arab countries and say, “Look there, we treat our women so much better.” Those folks point to the “other” to make themselves look better. Those who want to look deeper and think more globally, will turn to novels such as this to leaven truly historical ideas and replace the propaganda that is all too familiar with Arab culture. Having never been from Algieria, but knowing that it is has been an embattled, and colonized area throughout history, I was cautiously optimistic about this text. This is indeed a fiction, however it is not mystified. Instead Assia Djebar takes the reader through a maze of areas otherwise misrepresented by the Western world. To clarify, this novel shares the same titled as a famous 1834 oil canvas painting titled “Women of Algiers in Their Apartment,” by Eugène Delacroix, who was only a visitor in a home for a brief amount of time. In a rare move, Djebar pushes against this snap shot painting and tells the public there is more than meets the eye. If you have ever wanted to hear a true story, or a true rendering of facts, this novel is for you. Although Djebar writes about a time in the past, she does so having walked the same ground as her characters have. Knowing that history is too hard and frankly, too boring to consume at one time, she offers short stories that borderline as vignettes. This novel brings to light what has been put in the dark and fills your mind with the kinds of conversations that took place during those moments. Looking at the cover of the novel alone, you might think that this book is about helpless women. However, this is not the case. This is a book the stretched my mind against my own nuances regarding Arab culture, both historically and presently. This was required reading for my English senior seminar, but this was not the kind of book that I simply rushed through. I took a ride with Djebar and wanted to see if her characters would lift the veil, if you will. In this poetic rendering of words, Djebar may lose some readers. That is to say that her words seem to float on air. You have to come to this story with an open mind. Hell, bring your preconceived notions too. I am being very broad, because I really enjoyed this written piece of art and think you too should join. I do not want to ruin the contents by spoiling anything. I cannot say anything more intelligent than is already in the pages of the book. I loved the book, specifically due to its power to transcend a clear language barrier, to speak in the colonizers voice (which causes us to think who her intended audience was/is) and tell a story that without having been in a class I might not have understood. I would be remiss if I did not at least open up a bit more regarding the content of this fascinating, yet fragmented story. This book is also about love, learning and war in a place that is already very conflicted for women. It challenges the notion of patriarchy and begins to show how, when in a tough spot, women are as useful as men. The narrative shows how forgetful some are of the meaningful contributions of women, especially at war. This is not intermediary reading. I would not recommend this for anyone who thinks, but does not know a thing about Arab culture. If you do not know words such as patriarchal thinking, colonizers, voice of the colonizers, then you might want to rethink making a purchase or devoting your time. On the other hand, if you are looking to broaden your horizon and allow fictional narrative to enter your mind and challenge your notions, then this book is a great fit. Reading this story, knowing nothing about Arab lands, helped lift a veil that was in my own mind. It was covered in Western thinking and by the end of this novel, my mind was awakened with knowledge and understanding. Therefore, Djebar’s work, transcended its pages and transformed into useful knowledge. If you’re ready for that journey, then this is for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ferris

    The title of this collection refers to a painting by Eugene Delacroix, which was allegedly inspired by a brief visit inside the harem of a home in Morocco. The painting and the stories in this collection depict the emotional and intellectual state of women hidden within walls and the veil. It is also a collection comprised of haunting, evocative prose which stirs the deepest aspect of the reader's self. The yearnings, fears, coping mechanisms, faith, belief, and suffering of the women in these s The title of this collection refers to a painting by Eugene Delacroix, which was allegedly inspired by a brief visit inside the harem of a home in Morocco. The painting and the stories in this collection depict the emotional and intellectual state of women hidden within walls and the veil. It is also a collection comprised of haunting, evocative prose which stirs the deepest aspect of the reader's self. The yearnings, fears, coping mechanisms, faith, belief, and suffering of the women in these stories will forever be imprinted in my heart. I have rarely read such a marvelous collection.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mεδ Rεδħα

    In 1832, in recently conquered Algiers, Delacroix broke into a harem for a few hours. He brings back a masterpiece, Women of Algiers in their apartment, which remains a "stolen glance". A century and a half later, twenty years after the war of independence in which the Algerian women played a role that no one can dispute, how do they live on a daily basis, what margin of freedom could they conquer?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I began this book because the group diversity in all its forms was reading it and I wanted to participate in the discussion about it. I generally love reading novels that are based in countries throughout the world so that I can learn about those cultures. Unfortunately, this collection of short stories was very inaccessible for me. I found that it jumped suddenly from one character to another without indicating that and it was hard for me to follow. It may have been an issue of the quality of t I began this book because the group diversity in all its forms was reading it and I wanted to participate in the discussion about it. I generally love reading novels that are based in countries throughout the world so that I can learn about those cultures. Unfortunately, this collection of short stories was very inaccessible for me. I found that it jumped suddenly from one character to another without indicating that and it was hard for me to follow. It may have been an issue of the quality of the translation into English. Whatever the reason it was very difficult for me to get a grasp of this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Martina Zuliani

    The book is composed by some short-medium lenght novels that focus on women in the times of Algerian independence. Yet, the characters are common women, having common lifes and common problems. Most is about their thoughts and sadness and the same feelings could be applied to many women worldwide. The result is a deeply realistic book, to whom people can relate and recognise the character feelings as human ones.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I think about this book a lot...it is sort of weird and random that I think about this book a lot, but I do.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Read as part of my Modern Languages degree at Durham University for the module 'Introduction to Francophone Literature and Culture'.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Helynne

    I am a fan and a champion of francophone literature from Africa, particularly Magrebine stories by women in Algeria, Morocco, or Tunisia written either during or after the French colonial period. Assia Djebar is probably the best-known and respected francophone woman author of Algerian origin, although, fortunately, the list of wonderful Magrebine woman writers grows longer every year. (Some write in French and some in Arabic; Djebar's novels are all available in English translation as are more I am a fan and a champion of francophone literature from Africa, particularly Magrebine stories by women in Algeria, Morocco, or Tunisia written either during or after the French colonial period. Assia Djebar is probably the best-known and respected francophone woman author of Algerian origin, although, fortunately, the list of wonderful Magrebine woman writers grows longer every year. (Some write in French and some in Arabic; Djebar's novels are all available in English translation as are more and more other francophone Magrebine novels). In this watershed work about the ongoing mistreatment and repression of Algerian women, Djebar takes her title from the mid-19th-century painting by Eugene Delacroix that depicts Algerian women in a harem scene. Her point is that even in the decades since Algeria's independence from France in 1962, indigenous women are still cultural prisoners, limited in movement and expression by fathers, brothers, husbands and Muslim laws. Much like in the novel Reading Lolita in Tehran, intellent and educated women find they must express themselves in private and very controlled conditions at the peril of punishment or even their lives. This is not really a novel, but a collection of six stories and an essay that describe various aspects of the contemporary Algerian woman's repression and plight. Djebar's prose is very stream-of-conscious, and even in English translation, she can be a little hard to follow and fathom. Still, this is a challenging, but worthwhile read, if you have the time to read carefully, take notes, and compare impressions with others about the work.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott Cox

    The title of this novel comes from Delacroix’s famous painting created from memory of his stay in Algeria during the early 1800’s. The painting features three Algerian women seated in front of a hookah with a black slave woman looking backwards towards them. The painting becomes a metaphor for Djebar’s six short stories of women’s lives during the time of the Algerian war for liberation from France (1950’s & 1960’s). During this bloody period an estimated one million Algerians were killed. It is The title of this novel comes from Delacroix’s famous painting created from memory of his stay in Algeria during the early 1800’s. The painting features three Algerian women seated in front of a hookah with a black slave woman looking backwards towards them. The painting becomes a metaphor for Djebar’s six short stories of women’s lives during the time of the Algerian war for liberation from France (1950’s & 1960’s). During this bloody period an estimated one million Algerians were killed. It is out of this struggle that the women of Djebar’s stories speak out and tell their stories. They tell of participating in the fight for freedom, but without a voice. They faced a more deep-rooted oppression than French rule. In the first story, Sarah laments: “For Arabic women I see only one single way to unblock everything: talk, talk without stopping, about yesterday and today, talk among ourselves, in all the women’s quarters, the traditional ones as well as those in the housing projects.” In the Woman who Weeps, the character Leila laments “I was a voiceless prisoner. A little like certain women of Algiers today, you see them going around outside without the ancestral veil, and yet, out of fear of the new and unexpected situations, they become entangled in other veils, invisible but very noticeable ones…Me too: for years after Barberousse I was still carrying my own prison around inside me.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    The short stories are written in an impressionistic style, at times seeming more like poems in the rhythm and mystery of the language. A very interesting voice of an Algerian woman living in France. The Algerian fight for independence is a backdrop for her stories. This collection also includes an essay about the Delacroix painting and an interview with the author by the editor.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Meh. I thinkI needed to know more about the Algerian culture and its history to really appreciate this. It didn't help that I had the most monotone lecturer of my life for this text either. I enjoyed fragments but I felt confused way too much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pierre Roy

    Écriture qui se lie probablement bien par les autres membres de l'académie mais peut-être un peu ardue pour le lecteur commun.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Jocelyne

    So I enjoyed it but I also read it for one of my classes so I think that made me enjoy it a little less than I could have. I did read it in French and in English after. It definitely loses a bit in translation but most books do. Overall I did like it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Thompson

    First read for a class and randomly picked to do a presentation on it at the start of the semester. Was definitely the right choice because I ended up writing my capstone on Assia Djebar and this is my favorite of her books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Priti

    It's not for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    The ambiguity of the Algerian culture was what made this book so interesting for me. We gain insight into a world we've only ever heard about. We see through the eyes of the oppressed, the silenced, the veiled. We see their triumphs, failures. Their suffering. Each short story was unique and provided a different viewpoint. I wouldn't say this book was fun to read, but it was educational and interesting. I found myself unable and unwilling to put it down. I felt compelled to keep reading until th The ambiguity of the Algerian culture was what made this book so interesting for me. We gain insight into a world we've only ever heard about. We see through the eyes of the oppressed, the silenced, the veiled. We see their triumphs, failures. Their suffering. Each short story was unique and provided a different viewpoint. I wouldn't say this book was fun to read, but it was educational and interesting. I found myself unable and unwilling to put it down. I felt compelled to keep reading until there was nothing left.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrés Velásquez

    Ces histoires nous montrent le plus profond de la vie de la femme algérienne dans une société à la recherche de son identité et soumise par l'islam et les contradictions propres d'une ex-colonie française. Assia Djebar dessine des portraits des femmes d'Alger comme s'il s'agissait de Delcroix ou de Picasso. Son écriture est sublime, par fois troublante et déconcertante, belle et par fois difficile à lire à cause d'une multiplicité de voix qui se juxtaposent pour nous dévoiler des points de vue d Ces histoires nous montrent le plus profond de la vie de la femme algérienne dans une société à la recherche de son identité et soumise par l'islam et les contradictions propres d'une ex-colonie française. Assia Djebar dessine des portraits des femmes d'Alger comme s'il s'agissait de Delcroix ou de Picasso. Son écriture est sublime, par fois troublante et déconcertante, belle et par fois difficile à lire à cause d'une multiplicité de voix qui se juxtaposent pour nous dévoiler des points de vue de plusieurs personnages.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Greg Fanoe

    There was some good stuff here, but it was mostly just pretty boring. I'd be willing to believe this is just a bad translation, if somebody were to argue in favor of Ms. Djebar, but there's not much in here to recommend. Edit: 2 years later, I literally could not tell you a single thing about this book. That's enough to downgrade it to one star, I think. Sorry Ms. Djebar!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    I think that Djebar has an interesting point of view and worthwhile things to say. But I either should not have read this in translation or it is just too...postmodern for me. 11/2015: Can't believe I read this six years ago. Almost seven! My strongest memory is of one of the stories where women go to the baths.

  23. 5 out of 5

    N.

    Difficult read. Afterforward really helped with understanding the context and nature of where Djebar was coming from. The actual title short story featured in the book surprisingly challenged me the most. I also found the book to be a bit pretentious now that I think about it, though a necessary social commentary.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I liked that this book was a collection of short stories but they told a greater story as a whole. I also liked the literary essay at the end by Dejebar in it we even get another short stroy. A great tale of the oppression and strength of the women of Algiers.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Luna Selene

    The stories in Women of Algiers in Their Apartment are deeply metaphorical and written in a beautiful, poetic stream of consciousness that may at times be hard to follow, but are well worth the read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary Vincelli

    Dialoghi fra le mura di case e bagno turco, canzoni d'amore, parole forti di lotta e di sconfitta tra le donne d'Alceri,ricreate da Assia Djebar.

  27. 4 out of 5

    JiixBooks

    4.5/5

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pioup

    2015 Reading Challenge: a book by an author you've never read before.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Beautiful and heartbreaking

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.