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Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

Edited by Assia Djebar. Translated by Marjolijn de Jager and Clarisse Zimra

BUY Paper · 232 pp. · 5.5 × 8.5 · ISBN 9780813918808 · $19.50 · Jul 1999
BUY Cloth · 232 pp. · 5.5 × 8.5 · ISBN 9780813914022 · $42.50 · Nov 1992

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.


Algerian-born writer and filmmaker Djebar... makes her American debut with a collection offering memorable portraits of Arabic women in a time of change. Spanning the years 1958 to 1979, a period when Algeria fought a bitter war of independence from France and experienced a socialist revolution, Djebar's stories are intended to be 'the voice of all the women they've kept walled in' in Islamic society.... As much a critique as a picture of [this] society, Djebar's debut—plus its informative afterword—is an elegant and evocative introduction to a too little-known world.

Kirkus Reviews

A vivid and poignant picture of what goes on behind the veils imposed by Algeria's Islamic society.


Anyone into postcolonial fiction won't find better alternatives, even on a sunny day, than reading Djebar.

Voice Literary Supplement

About the Author(s): 

Assia Djebar is also the author of several novels and a play. Her novel Fantasia, an Algerian Cavalcade won the Franco-Arab Friendship Prize and she has written and directed two feature-length films: La nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua, which won first prize at the Venice Festival, and La zerda et les chants de l'oubli. Djebar is director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies at Louisiana State University.

Marjolijn de Jager has published numerous translations of literary works.

Clarisse Zimra is Associate Professor of English in Modern Literary Theory and Criticism and Comparative Literature at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

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