A housing estate in the Paris suburbs. Madjid is growing up caught between two cultures. At home, he listens to his mother's constant invective in Arabic as she attempts to make sense of her unfamiliar surroundings; at school, he tries to be part of French culture, a culture that rejects and insults Arabs. In a direct language, punctuated by moments of poetic beauty, Mehdi Charef portrays a reality only too rarely the subject of fiction. An immediate success upon publication in France in 1983, Tea in the Harem became the rallying-point for second-generation Algerians and Moroccans, who gave themselves the name 'beur': slang for 'Arab'.