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Please try again later. When the Palestinians suffer in their own accents they're foreigners to us, but when they speak and sing and explain in our language and our own accents they become as real to us as Brad Pitt playing Achilles in Troy or the poet Homer telling us about the Trojan War.

This is the poet Kim Jensen's achievement in her book of poems, Bread Alone. The collection is a lament, but it is much more. It is the rueful observations of a canny observer sorting through ironies, paradoxes and absurdities as a child might sort through rubble for her family after a bombing. These poems are sometimes so painful and cutting that we shush the poet. But other times we read the book through yet again because we know this particular voice is so precious and rare, so likely to be lost.

Her poems sing the sorrows of Palestinians, Iraqis and Lebanese into the collective unconscious so that by the time we put down this elegant jeremiad the knowledge has become instinctual in us that this is our tragedy and to ignore it is to risk our own souls in just the way so many souls were irreparably disgraced by ignoring the plight of European Jewry in the middle of the last century.

Looking away is evil. Jensen does not talk of Hamas, Fatah, Likud, settlements, extremists, terrorism: Perhaps because Arabs know a lot about thirst the silvern flash of water in the sun is a recurrent theme in their poetry, and here in the watery, quick, glistening passage of the poems down and through the pages is a poetics not unlike much Arab poetry. And Syracuse University Press has given us a collector's object of art, in many ways the perfect hardcover book of poems. It is what a volume of poems ought to look like. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The value of this book is that it was written as a first-hand account of a man who grew up partially on the street, desperately poor, and illiterate until his 20s. If this book is authentic, that it exists at all is amazing, that it was published and translated and I was able to read it simply miraculous. So I appreciate the book and I do not regret reading it.

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That said, like any of our lives, it is not a story per se and has no ending or twists, it is an account that can not be wrapped up neatly. But the main problem with the book is much of his life, or at least his account of it, is spent drunk or high, in sexual fantasy, masterbating, or with prostitutes. There is little indication that he experiences or is capable of love although he is capable of murderous hatred. There is not much questioning, self-awareness or a desire for change.

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He does not describe his journey to literacy or his motivation past learning the alphabet in jail, he does not discuss any dreams or even his purpose in writing the book. Although I found myself sympathetic to him and cheering him on, I also guess he is a sociopath and would not care to meet him in a dark alley, especially because I am a woman. Read with the right expectations, this book could be a worthwhile read. I have just finished it. It was a wonderful expereince for me, I felt as if I were living in Tangier in 's. I picked ladies' pockets together with Mohamed Choukri, the central character.

On a cold night I slept in the street, with a cat on me. 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. This is crude and honest. When picking this book, you must put on a pause all your ethical thinking on what is sexist, racist, and morally unacceptable. This is not a book to enjoy.

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Reading of this book is painful, but in the end, I saw it as a manifest against war and against violence. How a child, who received nothing but hate when growing up, could digest his pain into words, and could overcome it in a way. One person found this helpful. I liked this book. This speaks directly to strength in narration and artistry of Mr.

Choukri, who shows us, in this first volume of his autobiography, the despair brought about by ignorance and poverty. Our young man's apparent lack of hope for a better future is made clear from the start. In his teens, born in Marocco, during the French domination, he struggles to find the rules and reasons for the world around him.

I say apparent lack of hope, because after the first few paragraphs we already know that he is sensitive, smart and will attempt to survive as best he can, without any help from his family or society. In this respect, I was satisfied early on, for I sensed it would be all right to attach my emotions to this hero; that he would not betray my confidence. Choukri's narration is also masterful in the depiction of the most despicable acts of violence both physical and moral.

So we can also keep our safe distance. I confess to having a special reason for reading this book. 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 s, 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: I am a better person for having read this book. That's a sign of excellence.

Choukri is a must read if you want to familiarize yourself with the canon of North African literature. I do understand why this book Ben band from Morocco. Because of the explicit sexual content and details ignoring that it a great book to read. For Bread Alone-- Interesting account.

See all 22 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on October 11, Published on September 12,