Winner of the 2016 Goncourt Prize for her novel Chanson douce (Lullaby), Leïla Slimani draws on her own family’s inspiring story for The Country of Others (translated by Sam Taylor), the first volume in a planned trilogy about race, resilience, and women’s empowerment.
Mathilde, a spirited young Frenchwoman, falls in love with Amine, a handsome Moroccan soldier in the French army during World War II. After the war, the couple settles in Morocco. While Amine tries to cultivate his family farm’s rocky terrain, Mathilde feels her vitality sapped by the isolation, the harsh climate, the lack of money, and the mistrust she inspires as a foreigner. Left increasingly alone to raise her two children in a world whose rules she does not understand, and with her daughter taunted at school by rich French girls for her second-hand clothes and unruly hair, Mathilde goes from being reduced to be a farmer’s wife to defying the country’s chauvinism and repressive social codes by offering medical services to the rural population.
Whether you’ve read it or not, join the discussion in our book club!
Thu 7 Oct 7pm
1h30 | in English and French | £5 non-members, £3 members
You can find information on the book in English on the British publisher’s website.