Fiction in Translation
English edition  
248 pp.
13X20.5 cm
ISBN 9789774167546
For sale worldwide


A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me

A Novel Youssef Fadel
Translated by Jonathan Smolin

Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Spring, 1990. After years of searching in vain, a stranger passes a scrap of paper to Zina. It’s from Aziz: the man who vanished the day after their wedding almost two decades ago. It propels Zina on a final quest for a secret desert jail in southern Morocco, where her husband crouches in despair, dreaming of his former life. Youssef Fadel pays powerful testament to a terrible period in Morocco’s history, known as ‘the Years of Cinders and Lead,’ and masterfully evokes the suffering inflicted on those who supported the failed coup against King Hassan II in 1972.
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Award-winning Moroccan novelist and screenwriter Youssef Fadel was born in Casablanca in 1949. During Morocco’s ‘Years of Lead’ he was imprisoned in the notorious Moulay Cherif prison (1974–75). A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me is his ninth novel. He lives in Casablanca, Morocco. Translator Jonathan Smolin is the author of the critically acclaimed Moroccan Noir: Police, Crime, and Politics in Popular Culture (2013). He lives in Hanover, NH.

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“[Fadel is] a valued asset of modern Moroccan literature.”—Aujourd’hui le Maroc //endoftext//endoftext"A masterful history of modern Morocco."—BookShy Blog//endoftext//endoftext"Events progress rapidly and with the acute tension of a detective novel"—Leah Caldwell, The National//endoftext//endoftext"Fadel′s daring account of modern Morocco widens the periphery of the English reader on a subject that is better known in Arabic and French."—Sherif Dhaimish,"'A Rare Blue Bird Flies With Me' is also notable for its innovative style. Fadel's extensive use of the present tense give the book a compelling immediacy, while the bizarre occurrences and details he includes are well-suited to portray a situation that can only be described as such. Short sentences encase powerful descriptions ranging from harsh ultra-realism to lyrical surrealism, conveying life in a prison where inmates are literally left to starve or rot, as well as the hopes and dreams they once harboured."—Sally Bland, The Jordan Times//endoftext//endoftext"So the book will end, redeemed and well worth the read."—AA Bastian, Washington Independent Review of Books //endoftext//endoftext

“A major contribution that is likely to chart the path for more novelisation of the themes related to the memory of the years of state violence and repression.”—Brahim El Guabli, Journal of North African Studies//endoftext//endoftext"Fadel’s novel brings out the importance of seeing one’s place even in the darkest of times."—Wawa Book Review. //endoftext//endoftext"A Rare Blue Bird Flies With Me reads like a taut and claustrophobic detective story."—Literary Hub.

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