In the Country of Others: A Novel (Large Print / Paperback)
Leila Slimani returns to the written stage with a novel very different to the one that brought her international acclaim. In the Country of Others is a story of identity, of finding where one belongs and who one is, and discovering the inner strength that keeps us going at the darkest moments.
In the late 1940s Mathilde leaves her homeland of France to be with her new husband Amine, a Moroccan who fought in WW2, whom Mathilde fell in love with while he was stationed in her home town. But married life is not easy. Morocco is a country trying to find its identity and freedom, and we see this struggle mirrored in the battles that Mathilde, her daughter Aicha, and her sister-in-law Selma face on an almost daily basis, as they fight against the restraints that society tries to force on them. Through the hardships, they discover who they are, and find ways to keep going, and build new identities and places in society.
Mathilde is a joy of a character to read. Confident and fearful, strong and weak, all in equal measure, she has been written to perfectly reflect a different character, Morocco itself – a country strong in its ideals yet weakened by the continual struggles against France. Both characters fight, both briefly fall, but at the end, both feel stronger for the challenges they have overcome. In the Country of Others is the first book in a trilogy by Slimani, and sets us off on a beautiful journey, leaving us eagerly awaiting the next part.— Hannah Reidell
About the Author
Leila Slimani is the bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny, one of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2018, for which she became the first Moroccan woman to win France's most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt. Her first novel, Adèle, about a sex-addicted woman in Paris, won the La Mamounia Prize for the best book by a Moroccan author written in French and gave rise to her nonfiction book Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women's Intimate Lives in the Arab World. A journalist and frequent commentator on women's and human rights, Slimani spearheaded a campaign--for which she won the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom--to help Moroccan women speak out, as self-declared outlaws, against their country's "unfair and obsolete laws." She is French president Emmanuel Macron's personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture and was ranked #2 on Vanity Fair France's annual list of the Fifty Most Influential French People in the World. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Paris with her French husband and their two young children.