Children of the New World by Assia Djebar took me to a new area of the world – Algeria – and a new setting – Algeria’s war for independence from France. It’s a guerilla war, uncertain, with freedom fighters hiding out in the hills, shelled by a French-backed military. The lives Djebar chooses to show the reader are those of ordinary Algerians, women, children, men, revolutionaries. It’s like a slice of life only this slice of life is liable to open with a bomb that lands in the courtyard, killing someone’s mother-in-law.
Children of the New World is more than a feminist novel. The interconnected stories of a single day in a provincial Algerian town show how the inhabitants live under the constant thread of detention and death. Although many of the main characters are women, younger, more educated than their mothers, and walking the line between seclusion and freedom in a Muslim world, Children of the New World is a nationalist novel – it’s about the right to be recognized and live freely in your own town and country. The people of Blida represent those ordinary men and women who risk their lives, even in so simple a gesture as crossing the town unaccompanied to warn a husband, in a war of independence. This is a novel to be read for it’s point-of-view and Djebar’s beautiful writing.
*FTC Disclosure: I recieved a review copy of this from BNBC [And I apologize, this reveiw is about 6 weeks late]