Lallia =: Le Cow-Boy

Djanet Lachmet, Author Carcanet Press, $15.95 (150p) ISBN 978-0-85635-563-9
The author of this strong and disturbing first novel is a Moslem woman who grew up during the Algerian war for independence. The protagonist, Lallia, feels forbidden love for Rene, a French schoolmate whom she first sees in a cowboy hat. As a character, Rene is shadowy, apparently representing the conflicted state of the country; Lallia's headstrong nature comes through much more strongly. She chooses friends her parents disapprove of, tends to prefer various substitute mothers to her own and refuses an arranged marriage. As the war's atrocities intensify, Lallia's fears mount so severely that she seems on the verge of delirium and madness. Dreams, folktales and family legendsthe uncle who kept a panther (his mother, or his wife, incarnated) in his gilded bedappear throughout. Lallia sometimes moves disjointedly, with an air of anxious confusion, but that may be part of its strange charm. (April 16)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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