cover image Wolf Dreams

Wolf Dreams

Yasmina Khadra. Toby Press, $14.95 (260pp) ISBN 978-1-59264-186-4

Nafa Walid is a handsome aspiring actor in 1990s Algiers when he stumbles on a position as a driver for the Rajas, a wealthy and influential family. Instead of providing the springboard for his career he'd hoped for, however, the job serves as a brutal encounter with economic disparity and the amoral, inhumane world of his employers. When the demands of the work push him too far, he returns home, disillusioned. Frustrated with poverty and the inequalities of the Algerian social order, Nafa sees the mosque as his ticket to dignity and a better life, including marriage. Yet his plans go awry again, as Nafa is hurtled into Islamism, the revolutionary Islamic Salvation Front and a nihilistic desire for destruction. Khadra (In the Name of God), a.k.a. Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian army officer living in exile in France, charts with stark, unsparing prose the conditions of civil war-torn Algeria, and offers a profound glimpse into lives subsumed by violent, unquestioning faith.