What happens when catastrophe becomes an everyday occurrence? Each of the seven stories in Assia Djebar’s The Tongue’s Blood Does Not Run Dry reaches into the void where normal and impossible realities coexist. All the stories were written in 1995 and 1996—a time when, by official accounts, some two hundred thousand Algerians were killed in Islamist assassinations and government army reprisals. Each story grew from a real conversation on the streets of Paris between the author and fellow Algerians about what was happening in their native land.
Contemporary events are joined on the page by classical themes in Arab literature, whether in the form of Berber texts sung by the women of the Mzab or the tales from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. The Tongue’s Blood Does Not Run Dry beautifully explores the conflicting realities of the role of women in the Arab world. With renowned and unparalleled skill, Assia Djebar gives voice to her longing for a world she has put behind her.
About the Author
With her Berber and Muslim roots, her accomplishments as an Arab woman at the highest echelons of Western society in France and America, and her relentless output as a novelist and filmmaker, ASSIA DJEBAR speaks for the women, the poor, victims of both terrorism and the “War on Terror” that began in Algeria forty years before it arrived on US soil, and provides a much needed alternative voice to the litanies of the “experts.” Djebar won the Neustadt Prize in 1996, Germany’s Peace Prize in 2000, and in 2005 became the first Arab woman elected to the Académie Française. She is Silver Professor of Francophone Literature and Civilization at NYU. Djebar lives in Paris and New York.