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I have made use of the world Life consumes everything books accompany us,in revolt or resignation, in faith or abondonment This is the first book of Enard that I read, and I enjoyed it very much Enard is a professor of Arabic at the University of Barcelona He lived in Middle East and knows colonial North Africa His writing has a dreamy, naive tone and at times reminded me of Romain Gary Emile Ajar.The book takes us to many places but mostly to Morocco and Spain The protagonist is a I have made use of the world Life consumes everything books accompany us,in revolt or resignation, in faith or abondonment This is the first book of Enard that I read, and I enjoyed it very much Enard is a professor of Arabic at the University of Barcelona He lived in Middle East and knows colonial North Africa His writing has a dreamy, naive tone and at times reminded me of Romain Gary Emile Ajar.The book takes us to many places but mostly to Morocco and Spain The protagonist is a romantic book lover, however a very unlucky one Through the story we relive the events of Arab Spring, fundamentalist abuse of religion, the deadly combination of ignorance and poverty Its a tragedy, love story, a suspense, a traveler s blog all in one Reviewed for 3 AM Recommended for anyone interested in but maybe daunted by Zone Straightforward, supercontemporary includes events from April 2012 , forward flowing prose animating a narrator superficially unlike the author, champions complexities of humanity over reductions of race, region, religion Reviewed for 3 AM Recommended for anyone interested in but maybe daunted by Zone Straightforward, supercontemporary includes events from April 2012 , forward flowing prose animating a narrator superficially unlike the author, champions complexities of humanity over reductions of race, region, religion DISCLAIMER I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.This isn t Zone 2.0 It s a much different book,linear, and with infinity percentperiods But it s still incredibly amazing captiv DISCLAIMER I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.This isn t Zone 2.0 It s a much different book,linear, and with infinity percentperiods But it s still incredibly amazing captivating from the first chapter to the logical, disturbing end I think this is going to take off when it comes out this fall, since it offers such interesting insights into the Arab Spring and growing up in today s tumultuous climate This is a great book club book as well, with all the questions it raises, and is incredibly well written and translated Not as weird as I expected from the twisty, angular cover design the structure is straightforwardly linear nor from the author s reputation preceding him for the sort of single sentence Zone, but Street of Thieves was interesting in its own right as a story At first it seemed like it might be an explanatory socio political case study moulded into a novel, much like Horses of God, which similarly featured directionless young working class Moroccan guys seduced to varying degrees by well fund Not as weird as I expected from the twisty, angular cover design the structure is straightforwardly linear nor from the author s reputation preceding him for the sort of single sentence Zone, but Street of Thieves was interesting in its own right as a story At first it seemed like it might be an explanatory socio political case study moulded into a novel, much like Horses of God, which similarly featured directionless young working class Moroccan guys seduced to varying degrees by well funded radical Islamic organisations Except this book also takes in dead end jobs, illegal immigrant experiences, the economic difficulties of Spain, and the Occupy movement Though it was at least obvious from the start that by making the narrator Lakhdar essentially convincing, nard avoided the massive flaw of Horses of God, in which extremists ghosts suddenly acquired, post mortem, an understanding of their situations very similar to those of the liberal Western readers the book was written for This narrator s bildungsroman, by contrast, makes sense That s to say I find the narrator convincing forinformed opinions, you d be better reading posts by twentysomething guys from Arab backgrounds or at least their mates this novel, like Horses is also written by an academic a couple of decades older than his main characters It was about a third of the way through that I really started to like Street of Thieves as a story, asthan an extended example from a textbook or long read news feature, noting at the end Lakhdar is a composite of several interviewees although even before that, wrenching descriptions of certain feelings and situations as well as plot points that feltfiction than fact occasionally made it clear it was, at heart, a novel Most of these descriptions are rather long and detailed, but I thought nard especially, vividly, good on what it s like taking leave of someone you like but don t know well after a night out And, something I m not sure I d really seen described before, but which in my own way I ve got to know in recent years how comfortable and necessary it can be to knowingly hide one s head in the sand, live with blinkers on, and that there are some situations in which it may be the best way to feel a decent quality of life those weeks seem to me like a somber happiness, the edge of a razor, and you don t know whose throat it s going to cut just as the tightrope walker must defy the possibility of falling in order to concentrate on his footsteps he looks in front of him, gently maneuvers the pole that saves him from the abyss, advances towards the unknown I was walking without thinking about the fate that had pushed me towards Barcelona like an animal, I could sense the storm to come, around me, inside me, while at the same time putting it out of my mind so I d be able to cross the void.Recalling instances of the old colleague or acquaintance who returned from holiday in Turkey and complained about the sleazy waiters and other local men who tried to chat up her and her sister for some reason it was a popular destination for these women to go to with their sisters , it was intriguing to hear the other side of the story about this type of young man who is routinely, necessarily batted away Reading of course, means not being put on the spot by such guys, perhaps wanting simultaneously to understand and assert oneself, whilst knowing that sounding sympathetic could easily give the wrong signal Here were Lakhdar and his mate wandering the streets of Tangier hoping to get the courage together to chat up European tourists near their own age, as their compatriots were forbidden to them, and, yes, unfortunately their attitudes aren t likely to get on the right side of most of the objects of their desire And he s one of those hapless men from thousands of miles away who send social media and dating messages so desperate and vague that our perspective is why do they even think this would work I looked at a few Internet sites, sent some Facebook messages to girls I didn t know, all French, like throwing bottles into the sea I am a young Moroccan from Tangier, I m looking for friendship to share my passion booksSo typical simply to mention nebulous books rather than to start a conversation about a specific one, asking and stating some opinions, which, if one is lucky, might at least provoke a reply in some idle moment of boredom I ll show you ladies how cultivated I am, I thought, hence the note about the books, slightly exaggerated perhaps, but sober and precise I should add that I chose girls who definitely were pretty, but who wore glasses and who came from cities I knew nothing about, but imagined were cold, boring, and thus propitious for reading It goes without saying that I never received a reply Lakhdar actually has plenty of worth to say about books to the reader of Street of Thieves Novels about big readers can be a bit of a self referential yawnfest, but this is a not yr usual selection of texts and b an autodidact with a tough life, who sometimes is too overworked to read, sometimes plain can t get books rather than the Brooklyn based hipster whose taste is already ultra familiar Tattered classic European noir and thrillers e.g Manchette, Izzo are Lakhdar s favourites among the small selection of affordable non Islamic books he can find in Morocco fans of those will find stuff of interest here there may also be hidden references to these novels I was oblivious to For those who know the Tangier expat literary tradition, there may or may not also be a few easter eggs I ve read next to none of it And there is loads here about classical Arabic literature and poetry that will likely be fascinating to people trying to explore that During Lakhdar s travels, to Tunisia and ultimately to Spain as an illegal immigrant, his favourite touchstone is Ibn Battuta It was also revealing to hear him describe French and Spanish love poetry as dry , showing that it goes both ways, given that some Europeans find the translated Arabic equivalents too flowery and heavy Intriguing too, to hear about linguistic nuances, this when trying to communicate across a language barrier You try acting funny and charming in literary Arabic, it s no piece of cake, believe me people will always think you re about to announce another catastrophe in Palestine or comment on a verse of the Koran Lakhdar is one of those people who just can t help engaging in detail with material I could relate to the way that when employed for menial data entry work of historical records he started reading lots around the content subject in his spare time and that s the reflex that makes an autodidact in the first place.It was still the sort of novel that makes you feel like you ve learned something and for some readers, non fiction might be preferable but it was also a good story along the way, with the moments of experiential insight that novels do well Interesting, too, to read this straight after Houellebecq s Submission and see a philosophical journey in approximately the opposite direction And I suspect that those who knowof the books that Lakhdar reads will getout of it again Not my thing, and I felt that all thebecause I was coming to this from the fascinating Compass, and knew that Enard s other Englished novel is a five hundred page sentence All of that suggests a fascination with form and ideas This book is this book is Dickens, written by a Frenchman The book gives us a perfectly linear narrative, with a few vaguely connected events, and much of it, frankly, is silly how much can you read about one man s ogling before you cease to care I can justif Not my thing, and I felt that all thebecause I was coming to this from the fascinating Compass, and knew that Enard s other Englished novel is a five hundred page sentence All of that suggests a fascination with form and ideas This book is this book is Dickens, written by a Frenchman The book gives us a perfectly linear narrative, with a few vaguely connected events, and much of it, frankly, is silly how much can you read about one man s ogling before you cease to care I can justify this in two ways First, Enard was just trying something different, but different for him happened to be a solid realistic novel If that s the case, well, I guess he pulled it off There s plenty of characters and melo dear god did we really need to throw cancer in with the terrorism drama here Second, Enard is slyly mocking the self righteousness of many contemporary readers including myself , who will be miffed by the idea that a Moroccan man might actually find the freedoms of Europe enticing And I was miffed, and then convinced that I was being a dullard, and that of course, there are many, many things about the west that are deeply desirable I m just not convinced that that main one is sexual promiscuity Alternatively, I guess, this is just straight nihilism Europe is morally decayed, North Africa is morally decayed, we re all morally decayed That seems about right life consumes everything books accompany us, like my two penny thrillers, those proletarians of literature, travel companions, in revolt or resignation, in faith or abandonment mathias nard s street of thieves rue des voleurscaptivates from its first lengthy paragraph to its unexpected conclusion the novel s main character, a young moroccan named lakhdar, is remarkably conceived and vividly portrayed inexplicably, street of thieves is somehow like lazarillo de tormes set during th life consumes everything books accompany us, like my two penny thrillers, those proletarians of literature, travel companions, in revolt or resignation, in faith or abandonment mathias nard s street of thieves rue des voleurscaptivates from its first lengthy paragraph to its unexpected conclusion the novel s main character, a young moroccan named lakhdar, is remarkably conceived and vividly portrayed inexplicably, street of thieves is somehow like lazarillo de tormes set during the arab spring a sky of infinite blackness, that was what was waiting for us today in my library, where the fury of the world has been muffled by the walls, i watch the series of cataclysms like one who, in a supposedly safe shelter, feels the floor vibrating, the walls trembling, and wonders how much longer he ll be able to preserve his life outside, everything seems to be nothing but darkness translated from the french by charlotte mandell flaubert, proust, maupassant, l vy, et al When a novelist writes in the context of current events, a reader can either judge his book by its verisimilitude to known events or judge the book as a work of literature that just happens to use current events as an imaginative springboard without trying to be faithful to history I have not previously read any work by Mathias nard and therefore came to this novel without prior knowledge of his literary predilections For the most part he has written a coherent and relatively successful novel When a novelist writes in the context of current events, a reader can either judge his book by its verisimilitude to known events or judge the book as a work of literature that just happens to use current events as an imaginative springboard without trying to be faithful to history I have not previously read any work by Mathias nard and therefore came to this novel without prior knowledge of his literary predilections For the most part he has written a coherent and relatively successful novel, but I don t know to what extent it mirrors the actual times and situations in which he locates the narrative.The first person narrator, Lakhdar, begins his story in his native Morocco, in Tangier He is in his late teens, bored, libidinous, and at loose ends Rejected by his family when he is caught in bed with his cousin Meryem who later dies during a botched abortion , he finds himself on the streets living a precarious existence His friend Bassam gets him a job selling books for a Muslim organization that Lakhdar suspects of supporting violent jihadism, and Lakhdar eventually changes jobs and becomes a typist for a French publisher He also meets Judit, a Spanish student from Barcelona, when she is visiting Tangier Lakhdar immerses himself in literature, often out of boredom, and, wanting to cross to Spain, takes a job working on a ferry Ultimately he enters Spain illegally and has a series of adventures there He reestablishes contact with both Judit and Bassam, neither relationship being uncomplicated, and his situation ends badly or at least ambiguously.Lakhdar s aimlessness and angst are not simply personal but reflect the frustrations, lack of opportunity, impoverishment, and impulsiveness of an entire society and generation, and the upheavals of the Arab Spring and growing Islamic radicalism are never far from the narrative s surface nard writes generally well, although it took me a while to get used to his run on sentences, sentence fragments being linked by commas into long riffs that serve an unclear purpose The reader is also left wondering about background material that might have been useful, such asabout Lakhdar s family of origin and its influence on his psychological formation, andabout his interest in reading some of which seems unlikely, given his economic and educational restrictions The novel s ending also seems a little odd, almost as if the author either ran out of ideas and quickly grabbed at a few implausibilities in order simply to close the narrative, or as if he did not adequately prepare the reader to find the ending convincing.I enjoyed the novel, but not as much as I had hoped I cannot judge whether it accurately reflects attitudes and events among some young people in the region today, but it might be considered at least one perspective As a work of literature independent of these issues, it was not remarkable, although it is not bad either &KINDLE ⇲ Rue des voleurs ↬ C est un jeune Marocain de Tanger, un gar on sans histoire, un musulman passable, juste trop avide de libert et d panouissement, dans une soci t peu libertaire Au lyc e, il a appris quelques bribes d espagnol, assez de fran ais pour se gaver de S rie Noire Il attend l ge adulte en lorgnant les seins de sa cousine Meryem C est avec elle qu il va fauter , une fois et une seule On les surprend les coups pleuvent, le voici la rue, sans foi ni loiCommence alors une d rive qui l am nera servir les textes et les morts de mani res inattendues, confronter ses cauchemars au r el, tutoyer l amour et les projets d exilDans Rue des Voleurs, roman vif et sur le vif, l auteur de Zone retrouve son territoire hypersensible l heure du Printemps arabe et des r voltes indign es Tandis que la M diterran e s embrase, l Europe vacille Il faut toute la jeunesse, toute la na vet , toute l nergie du jeune Tang rois pour traverser sans rebrousser chemin le champ de bataille Parcours d un combattant sans cause, Rue des Voleurs est port par le r ve d improbables apaisements, dans un avenir d avance confisqu , qu clairent pourtant la compagnie des livres, l amour de l crit et l affirmation d un humanisme arabe In a comparative phrase, this is Huck Finn intertwined with The Stranger, written and set in the early 2010 s in Europe and North Africa, and it just may be as good as both books The epigraph is a quote from The Heart of Darkness, which hints at how dark and distant this maturation story is from Huck s journey The young male narrator, a Moroccan named Lakhdar, is forced, by fate , to experience the Arab Spring tumult and the poverty and crime of a section of Barcelona called The Street of T In a comparative phrase, this is Huck Finn intertwined with The Stranger, written and set in the early 2010 s in Europe and North Africa, and it just may be as good as both books The epigraph is a quote from The Heart of Darkness, which hints at how dark and distant this maturation story is from Huck s journey The young male narrator, a Moroccan named Lakhdar, is forced, by fate , to experience the Arab Spring tumult and the poverty and crime of a section of Barcelona called The Street of Thieves Lahkhdar and his boyhood bud, Bassam, come under the influence of a charismatic leader of the Muslim Group for the Propagation of Koranic Thoughs , and there begins a journey of sorts, including a boat trip to nowhere due to heavy debt in a sinking European economy To a point, it s as if Lakhdar matures via experience and Bassam doesn t quite, like Huck and Tom, though that may a simplification In any event, they are living in dark and twisted times, and their lives suffer the consequences Recommended Will likely read Zone soon Around 3 a.m last night, I picked up Paterson, a book length poem by William Carlos Williams that I have not read, and got into bed, finally pulling into the sheets I opened to the author s preface to the first section, which describes the task of beginning, the precariousness inherent apparent here , and dogs Still disinterested in sleep, I focused my energies, however diminishing, onto Williams s mongrels To make a start, out of particulars and make them general, rolling up the sum, by Around 3 a.m last night, I picked up Paterson, a book length poem by William Carlos Williams that I have not read, and got into bed, finally pulling into the sheets I opened to the author s preface to the first section, which describes the task of beginning, the precariousness inherent apparent here , and dogs Still disinterested in sleep, I focused my energies, however diminishing, onto Williams s mongrels To make a start, out of particulars and make them general, rolling up the sum, by defective means Sniffing the trees, just another dog among a lot of dogs What else is there And to do The rest have run out after the rabbits Only the lame stands on three legs Scratch front and back Deceive and eat Dig a musty bone This is no Homeric invocation of the Muse it s the excavation of some insipid remains by a hobbling mutt Your muse is dead I remembered then that Mathis nard s new novel, Street of Thieves, also begins with dogs Men are dogs, they rub against each other in misery, they roll around in filth and can t get out of it, lick their fur and their genitals all day long, lying in the dust, ready to do anything for the scrap of meat or the rotten bone they want someone to throw at them, and I m just like them, I m a human being, hence the depraved piece of garbage that s a slave to its instincts, a dog, a dog that bites when it s afraid and begs for caresses I can see my childhood clearly, my puppy dog s life in Tangier my young mutt s strayings, my groans of a beaten mongrel I understand my frenzy around women, which I took for love, and above all I understand the absence of a master, which makes us all roam around looking for him in the dark, sniffing each other, lost, aimless While nard s opening s primary focus is the nature of man, the passage does serve as a subtle microcosm of the larger,interesting themes he will eventually explore and poses the pertinent question that Williams, too, asks What happens when your master is gone There are lesser masters than Williams s, which, however seemingly absent, is ultimately creative There are masters of violence, terror, and confusion Ones bent on destruction And ones insatiable that never disappear These are masters that surround nard s narrator, Lakdhar teen in exile, sometimes practicing Muslim, and bookseller And lame dog he, like Williams s speaker, is less driven by instinct to serve than his peers He s not content to chase rabbits His aimlessness isspecific,discerning than that Which is to say that a difference between Williams s speaker and Lakdhar s is their positioning in the world, which may in fact be where this, however coincidental, comparison falters It had a good run Though Williams doesn t see a master at the moment, I don t think, if he did, it d be one of creation, not destruction Williams s is the master of few, not many, the kind of master that Lakdhar is looking for but, for reasons outside of his control, cannot find.To conclude as precariously as I began, I ll say that Street of Thieves is a fated novel, one whose protagonist his entire world is subjected to the muses, not of creation, but of destruction He doesn t choose them He has no choice Lakdhar s doggish life, in his own words I ate from the hand of Fate