This episode focuses on Driss Chraibi’s The Simple Past (Le Passé Simple), a Moroccan novel about a very angry young man in revolt against his father’s tyranny and the hypocrisies of his colonial education. Back in 1954, it was compared to an explosion – and it still packs a punch today.
The Simple Past was newly re-issued from NYRB Classics in Hugh A. Harter’s 1990 translation, with a new introduction from Adam Shatz. Shatz’s introduction is available online at the NYR Daily.
Excerpts from Chraibi’s interview with Federico Arbós can be found at Fragmentos de la entrevista con Federico Arbós, El Mundo/La Esfera, 28/3/92.
This episode also references Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy and the father figure of Si Sayyed; Waguih Ghali’s Beer in the Snooker Club; and Tayib Saleh’s Season of Migration to the North.