Translated from the french and one of the Lannan Translation Series, The Lovers of Algeria, a novel by Anouar Benmalek, spans nearly half a century of strife in war-torn Algeria. The lovers of the title are Swiss born Anna and her Algerian Arab husband, Nassreddine. Oftentimes horrific in its decription of the murderous brutality of war, the novel focuses on Anna's journey, late in life, to find her lost husband and the graves of her two murdered children. With Jallal (a 9-year old peanut seller) in tow, Anna risks both their lives in her quest through North Africa.
This novel is not for the faint of heart--the horrors of war, more horrific than I could have imagined, are presented in counterpoint to the beautiful love story of Anna and Nassreddine, and the tenderness of Anna's relationship to the boy, Jallal. Though it exposes the shock and intimidation of exile, The Lovers of Algeria affirms that humanity endures amidst the terror of war.