About the book
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'.
Charef describes everyday hurts and bruises as if they were distinctive characteristics of the human condition. This unadorned voice goes straight to the heart. Listen to it!
Tea in the Harem does not wallow in the world it depicts, it expresses the urge to get out. It is a dry, fast and ferocious book.
Grabbed me from page one and never let go!