cover image Some Dream for Fools

Some Dream for Fools

Faiza Guene, . . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20 (156pp) ISBN 978-0-15-101420-0

In her second novel, Guène poignantly chronicles the lives of Algerian immigrant Ahlème and her family in their adopted France, delicately linking anguish and humor in a realistic portrayal of displacement. After losing her mother to violence at a young age, Ahlème becomes caretaker of her father, “The Boss,” incapacitated after a work-related injury, as well as her younger brother, Foued, whose ambitions veer to the criminal. Relegated to working odd jobs, Ahlème drifts, knowing her life might hold more, but held back by the pressing concern of providing for her family. Even though she's lived in France for years, Ahlème remains an orphan of the world at 25, frequently reapplying for residency, hoping to find a boyfriend with documentation. Tellingly, Ahlème muses, “I imagine men with little mustaches in the offices who only have to push a button for it to become an ejector seat and for me to find myself back in the village.” Guène aptly depicts how small joys—glimpsing the cohesive family life that friend Auntie Mariatou leads, celebrating the Boss's birthday—take on weight as Ahlème dreams of the future. (July)