From the Publisher
So Vast the Prison is the double-threaded story of a modern,
educated Algerian woman existing in a man''s society, and, not
surprisingly, living a life of contradictions. Djebar, too, tackles
cross-cultural issues just by writing in French of an Arab society
(the actual act of writing contrasting with the strong oral
traditions of the indigenous culture), as a woman who has seen
revolution in a now post-colonial country, and as an Algerian
living in exile.
In this new novel, Djebar brilliantly plays these contradictions
against the bloody history of Carthage, a great civilization the
Berbers were once compared to, and makes it both a tribute to the
loss of Berber culture and a meeting-point of culture and language.
As the story of one woman''s experience in Algeria, it is a private
tale, but one embedded in a vast history.
A radically singular voice in the world of literature, Assia
Djebar''s work ultimately reaches beyond the particulars of Algeria
to embrace, in stark yet sensuous language, the universal themes of
violence, intimacy, ostracism, victimization, and exile.
About the Author
With her Berber and Muslim roots, her accomplishments as an Arab
woman at the highest echelons of Western society in France and
America, and her relentless output as a novelist and filmmaker,
ASSIA DJEBAR speaks for the women, the poor, victims of both
terrorism and the "War on Terror" that began in Algeria forty years
before it arrived on US soil, and provides a much needed
alternative voice to the litanies of the "experts." Djebar won the
Neustadt Prize in 1996, Germany's Peace Prize in 2000, and in 2005
became the first Arab woman elected to the Académie Française. She
is Silver Professor of Francophone Literature and Civilization at
NYU. Djebar lives in Paris and New York.
Published: October 15, 1999
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1583220097
ISBN - 13: 9781583220092