Children of the New World
Assia Djebar, one of the most distinguished woman writers to emerge from the Arab world, wrote Children of the New World following her own involvement in the Algerian resistance to colonial French rule. Like the classic film The Battle of Algiers—enjoying renewed interest in the face of world events—Djebar's novel sheds light on current world conflicts as it reveals a determined Arab insurgency against foreign occupation, from the inside out.
However, Djebar focuses on the experiences of women drawn into the politics of resistance. Her novel recounts the interlocking lives of women in a rural Algerian town who find themselves joined in solidarity and empower each other to engage in the fight for independence. Narrating the resistance movement from a variety of perspectives—from those of traditional wives to liberated students to political organizers—Djebar powerfully depicts the circumstances that drive oppressed communities to violence and simultaneously reveals the tragic costs of war.
"The third novel by the Algerian writer Assia Djebar was published in France in 1962, but Marjolijn de Jager's lovely translation is its first appearance in English. . . . Djebar's point of view is feminist and anti-colonial, but her novel is no propaganda piece."
"Djebar is an impasssioned advocate of Algerian and female liberation, and this much-admired book (previously untranslated into English). . . . [Children of the New World] is a painstakingly braided tapestry that richly deserves its high reputation—as is explained in informative . . . detail in scholar Clarissa Zimra's otherwise worthy afterword. Djebar is reputed to be a leading Nobel Prize candidate. Reading this replete, stirring novel, one can understand why."
"Now translated, and beautifully so, for the first time into English, Children of the New World embodies Djebar's refined literary sensibility, empathy for people caught in times of violent change, and penetrating insights into the complex and painful difficulties between men and women."
"In [Djebar's] widely honored work, she explores Muslim women's struggle for social emancipation and their world in all its complexities. She is a lucid critic of gender, history, and subjectivity in colonial and postcolonial contexts. . . . Through the events of the day described in Children of the New World, a new order emerges from a jumble of perceptions—a hopeful revolution that will create a nation of free souls. . . . The social upheaval of the war pushes her characters, often for the first time in their lives, toward individual, instrumental and radical decisions. Djebar also explores the tensions between the singular and the collective that feminist struggle involves."