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The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  35 reviews
This long-awaited English-language debut from Morocco's most prominent contemporary writer won the Prix Gouncourt de Nouvelles, France's most prestigious literary award, for best story collection. Laroui uses surrealism, laugh-out-loud humor, and profound compassion across a variety of literary styles to highlight the absurdity of the human condition, exploring the ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published June 28th 2016 by Deep Vellum Publishing (first published October 18th 2012)
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Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really liked this collection of stories.

They are funny and absurd, with a bite. I felt some echoes of the Turkish writer Aziz Nesin, maybe Cossery, and maybe even a bit of Hodja Nasreddin, although I’m sure there are closer Moroccan antecedents.

Fouad is by first profession a professor of economics and econometrics, and in a couple of stories a bit of science lends the illusion of a foundation to a semi-surreal situation. For example, it lends false technical grounding to the flight of fancy in
Lark Benobi
I had a lot of fun reading these stories. The titular story comes first and was a romp of a farce but it also said a lot about that peculiar experience of visiting a foreign country, and finding yourself surrounded by foreign people who act strangely, except they're not strange at all, that's you, you're the foreigner. Other stories are more surreal and disturbing. I took my time reading these and enjoyed the collection very much that way, as something that I could dip into when I didn't know ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Brilliant writing and (from what i could tell) remarkable translating. A Moroccan who writes in French, Laroui walks the fine line between what could be excruciating, especially in a country too close, temporally and geographically to its colonial oppressor to really escape the residua that seems to squeeze out awkwardly & unbidden: (”..her first husband, who was French and thus handsome and rich.”). But he is hilarious. One moment i’m cringing and the next giggling. My only complaint is ...more
Marina Sofia
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two very distinct types of short stories in this book. The Moroccan tales told by groups of friends around a table in a cafe are full of humour, interruptions, interjections, digressions and tender absurdity. Then there are the more global tales of displacement, of identity, of wondering about origins and the possibility of corss-cultural understanding.
Perhaps not all equally memorable, but a fine collection of stories, thought-provoking and amusing.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
It has its moments, but for all its (many, many) pretensions the ultimate takeaway seems to be "Language! It's funny. Ha!" If it were any longer I probably would have stopped reading.
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Super funny, super good, super poignant, super timely, super damn amazing.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.

This book contains a series of short stories told by a group of men sitting around at café in Morocco. It appears that they have been friends for quite some time as there is a lot of teasing, interrupting, and jocularity mixed in with their stories. Their tales range from the funny to the rather serious and I found that the theme of being an outsider in a foreign land pervades the entire collection.

The funniest tale is the title story in which a
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Les neuf nouvelles qui composent le recueil de Fouad Laroui oscillent entre humour, recherche stylistique, interpellation sociale et amour du monde que l'on s'y traîne au Maroc ou aux Pays-Bas, à Paris ou à Bruxelles. Elles traitent des univers qui s'entrechoquent cognés sur les barrières de la langue, perchés sur les balustrades des a priori, coincés dans les hygiaphones des cellules de l'administration ou pendus à l'absurde des apparences.
Seulement voilà, les nouvelles ne font qu'osciller
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, novels
A collection of short stories. A few are great, some are good and many are just a complete waste of ink, paper and time. It all reads like a discussion or the inner monologue of an intellectual, on a Sunday morning, as mean of a weekly workout.

Laroui has this very peculiar writing style in which he jam-packs a lot of ideas into interrogative sentences, unfinished phrases, and parenthesis (he even puts parenthesis inside parenthesis).
It's basically a writer's scrapbook/journal. Maybe he was
Sydney Bender
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laroui est un de mes auteurs favoris et avec ce livre, il continue d'en être un. En particular, l'histoire "Dislocation" m'a ému. Dans l'ensemble, le livre est à la fois tragique, amusante, et émouvante. Je retournerai à ce livre pour des années et des années. Je le recommande à tous.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Laroui uses some narrative techniques I've never seen before, and it makes for a really fascinating collection of short stories. His narrative style is theatrical, and what I mean by that is that many of the stories in this collection are heavily dialogue based. Rather than simply telling us a story, Laroui will create a narrator (often with an audience) who tells the story (often with interruptions from the audience). In this sense, most of the central narrative is conveyed through dialogue, ...more
Outstanding examples of the short story writer’s craft. Genuine innovation in a literary form that is nigh on 200 years old is really really hard to pull off, and yet that is precisely what Fouad Laroui has achieved in his unforgettable immigrant story “Dislocation.” You just have to read it to believe it – major props to Emma Ramadan for translating such complex work with so much fluency and panache. In general, the nine stories in this volume can be divided into two categories:

a) The
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
«Quand je considère la petite durée de ma vie, absorbée dans l’éternité précédente et suivante… le petit espace que je remplis… abîmé dans l’infinie immensité des espaces que j’ignore et qui m’ignorent, je m’effraie et m’étonne de me voir ici plutôt que là… Il n’y a point de raison… Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie.»

la philo fait réfléchir et que c’est dangereux, la réflexion. Dangereux pour le pouvoir… Il vaut mieux que le peuple ne réfléchisse pas, qu’il reste naïf, attaché
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book resonated for me in many places, and it's very funny.It's only 130 pp long, a series of short stories that sometimes verge on philosophical meditations about -- and explorations of the nuances of -- feeling foreign, displaced, dislocated, an outsider, surrounded by the unfamiliar. The stories are somewhat connected by allusions, characters' names, settings (a couple of stories are told in a coffee shop, the Cafe de l'Univers). Laroui is Moroccan and most of the stories are set there, ...more
Jane Ginter
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great collection of stories!
Stephanie Smith
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
The first part was ok but the more I read the more board I became
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Certaines histoires racontées dans ce livre sont bonnes, amusantes voire poignantes, d'autres le sont moins !
Le livre reste un bon recueil de nouvelles à lire entre deux grandes lectures !
Fatima AlHashimi
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Short but tedious read. More like ramblings than stories. Found the writing style very annoying. All the stories had an arrogance about them.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, borrow
Clever, absurd, at times really funny. Sometimes too explicit in asking questions, but enjoyed it nevertheless.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
The title story was a delight. Worth picking up this collection just for that.

The rest of the stories are generally enjoyable, especially the storyteller ones set in Morocco.
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, francais, reviewed
Fouad Laroui est un écrivain (et économiste) marocain qui vit à Amsterdam. où il enseigne économétrique et sciences de l'environnement. Il a vécu en France et au Royaume-Uni (Cambridge et York) et a remporté le Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle (2013) pour ce livre.

Certaines des questions discutés sont:

1. Y at-il un thème commun entre les différentes histoires?
2. Était l'auteur français ou Marocain? Il a vécu le Pays Bas mais parlait et écrivait en français.
3. Quelle était l'intention de l'auteur?
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
"Why does man distance himself from his home? Why does he make himself into a foreigner?"

It's foreign land to you, of course, but to everyone else you are the outsider. As an American in Japan it's a feeling I know well.

"[In France] the trees would have had familiar names, the trees and the animals and the household items at the supermarket; over there he wouldn't have needed to consult the dictionary to buy a mop."

(For me it was baking yeast.)

Laroui covers it all - the embarrassment of not
Jennifer Croft
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delightful, with fun hints of Gombrowicz and Ionesco, though it felt fresh and intriguing at the same time. Looking forward to the novel!
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
"Amir (de plus en plus véhément) :
Mais non!Vou, c'était votre métier, d'enseigner la philo. Vous veniez délivrer votre cours et vous repartiez. Mais moi, c'était... c'était autre chose. La pensée... Le doute! L'angoisse qui s'installait! "La petite durée de ma vie dans l'infinie immensité des espaces."... Le temps de digérer ça et vlan! Nietzsche me tombaient dessus!
Sylvie (linterrompant)
Holà! tu parles comme dans ces pays où la philo est interdite... parce qu'elle fait réfléchir et que
Rob Withers
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Quirky, but sometimes laugh-out-loud funny and sometimes more serious.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entre absurdité de la bureaucratie, et préjugés de café de commerce. l'intérêt d'y retrouver une forme d'ambiance mais inégalité des nouvelles.
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avec une écriture très originale, très amusante ; l'auteur au fil des 9 nouvelles, nous raconte des personnages dans des situations surprenantes et brode sur des thèmes variés de la vie marocaine et des clichés.
Dans la première nouvelle, sur le pantalon de Dassoukine, l'accent est mis avec humour sur l'inégalité et l'apparence.
Richard Craven
J'étais il y a de jours en train de lire cette collection de contes. Alors, gagneur du Prix Goncourt, tout va bien avec les premieres 2 ou 3. Mais, donc, je lisais sur an avion revenant d'échapper dans les Canaries le noel anglais. Et, a fin de quitter l'avion a Bristol, je laisse le livre la dedans! Dommage. Trois etoiles pour ceux que j'ai lues.
Jan 28, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-extra
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Fouad Laroui est né au Maroc, mais il vit en Europe depuis l'âge de vingt ans. Il a fait ses études supérieures en France. Installé aujourd'hui à Amsterdam, il y enseigne l'économie et les sciences de l'environnement.

(Fouad Laroui's radio show)

Il a reçu en 2013 le prix Goncourt de la nouvelle pour "L’Étrange Affaire du pantalon de Dassoukine"