Tag Archives: Faiza Guene

Oh, gee!

Or guh, guh, guh, as they say in schools these days.

Today children, we are doing the letter G. There is an awful lot of it about.

As you may know, the bookwitch herself is G-afflicted. It wasn’t always thus, but happily for the sake of those hand-monogrammed towels and whatnot I was simply able to add a small horizontal bar to my original letter and I was fine.

But now we are talking of books, and the placing of them in alphabetical order. (Between you and me, I did seriously consider the colour approach. And it would actually have been easier. At least for putting the books on the shelves. Finding them again might have been another kettle of ghoti.)

I’m such a sad witch that I first wrote down the alphabet on a piece of paper and then I didvided it up in equal pieces, based on how many shelves I had to hand. But you can’t actually put an even three letters’ worth on each level. (I did this because the books came at me in a most higgledy piggledy fashion, so I had no way of knowing how many I had of anything. Except too many.) Letters aren’t equal. I thought there might be a lot of Ss. There isn’t, setting that Sedgwick chap aside.

G, however. There is a lot of G here. One and a half shelf. That’s more than anything else. Come to think of it, it’s a bit like my address book. I married a G. This G had relatives who had the nerve to go off and marry other Gs. And to top it all off, I went and acquired a whole new set of relatives myself. Their name began with G. And those who had started off married, got divorced and went back to being Gs. Honestly.

G is for Garbage - Oscar the Grouch

And you need to appreciate that I’m the one who has to mumble ‘J, K’ to myself whenever I have to spell something out in English, before I manage to say ‘GEE.’

Where was I? On about the third shelf down, with the Gs. It starts with Gaiman and ends with Guëne. Between those two you find some nice people who have written some nice books.

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Dreams from the Endz

Being Algerian in Paris is harder than being a Scandinavian in Britain, but there are interesting similarities between Faïza Guène’s new heroine Ahlème, and the witch. The immigration office that Ahlème has to register at regularly, sounds rather like Lunar House in Croydon, and my experience of calling there isn’t much fun. It’s for second class people.

Dreams from the Endz

This new book by Faïza Guène, translated by Sarah Ardizzone, is as good as her first, Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow. Dreams from the Endz isn’t as much of a teen book, though, and the publishers say they are only aiming it at adults, which is a shame. It’d be good if more teenagers could read it, and learn what it’s like to be an unwanted immigrant.

Ahlème is both a typical 24-year-old modern girl, and a good Algerian daughter and sister, keeping her invalid father happy, and trying to keep her teenage brother out of trouble. She struggles to find a job to feed them, and she meets up with her friends and helps her neighbours, and she falls in love. And even love has to depend on the immigration authorities.

Faïza is good at getting her message across, about what it’s like to be an immigrant in France. We need more books like this one, and it’s good to get a story from across the Channel. Very near, but very different.

I nearly fainted when I saw the price of Dreams from the Endz. £11.99 for a paperback of 170 pages! I understand it will sell fewer copies, because it’s foreign, not so well known, and translations may cost more. But who in their right minds will pick this book in the shop, when the average paperback costs a fiver less? The risk here must be that the book flops, and that’s seen as proof that books like these don’t sell, so why publish any more.

Faïza for July

Faïsa Guène

Very pleased to see Faïza Guène as July’s calendar girl. And particularly appropriate, as I’ve been chasing her new book Dreams From the Endz for a few weeks, and I it’s now on its way here. I believe it’s another Paris based story, and if it’s anywhere near as good as Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, I’ll be happy. The Paris coincidence is a little strange, too, as I packed the Resident IT Consultant off there on Sunday.

I’d like to write lots more about Faïza, but I really must sort out a more convenient way to type ï and è. Any suggestions?