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تلك العتمة الباهرة

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  10,732 ratings  ·  2,164 reviews
مصابي جليل، والعزاء جميل، ...
وظني بأن الله سوف يديل
جراح وأسر، واشتياق، وغربة...
أحمل إني، بعدها، لحمول
وإني، في هذا الصباح، لصالح،...
ولكن خطي في الظلام جليل


إذا أردتَ أن تعلَمَ قسوةَ السجّان، وتواطؤ السجن عليك، فأسأل سجين، أو ذويه
إذا أردتَ أن تتذوَق صِدق المعاناة، وتتذوّق طعمَ الحياة الآخَر، فرجاءً لا تقرأ رواية عن الحبّ السرمديّ، ولكِن إقرأ في أدبِ السجون

رواية الطاهر بن جلّ
...more
Paperback, الطبعة الرابعة, 223 pages
Published 2004 by دار الساقي (first published 2001)
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Nana Soufi في مكتبة تنمية في شارع هدى شعراوي بوسط البلد

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Mariel
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: does anyone feel the same way I do?
Recommended to Mariel by: with no reason to hide these words I feel
The tree stump tells himself that he doesn't miss the height. He doesn't miss the owl that perches on his limb to let him know when it is light. No flowers, no birds or bees and hell no there aren't any roots. There's a wizened face squinting into the camera. The voice isn't used to the accompanying noise of the flowers, birds and bees. It falters in its over growth throat and it starts to say... What's this female voice speaking over it? Is that what the guy on the tv who has been in a cave in ...more
Francisco
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eighteen years alone in a cell ten feet long, five feet wide and not high enough for a normal person to stand up straight. Also, no light. Ever. Prisoners were allowed to go outside only to bury one of their prisoners. An immense story of the struggle to fight the deadly enemies of hate and despair. The pain and grace of believing in an all merciful God there in that living death. The simple language of this story, the lack of drama (for lack of a better word) make this book a stylistic masterpi ...more
Edita
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever memories threatened to invade me, I would marshal all my strength to bar their way, snuff them out. I'd had to perfect a skillful method to get rid of them. First one must prepare the body to reach the mind: breathe slowly and deliberately from the abdomen; focus oneself by concentrating on this breathing. I allow the images to flood in. I isolate them by chasing away everything moving around them. I blink until they become blurry. Then I stare at one of them for a long time until I fre ...more
Ibtissam
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy moly, this was one heck of an amazing book, so intense, i loved every freaking sentence that was written in this book, and the AMAZING thing that happened is that after i finished reading it i said to my sister that this would make a GREAT movie and Guess what????? yesterday i read an article about how there will be a movie based on the Things that had happened in the prison "tazmamart" so my wish came true so quickly haha ...more
Tariq Mahmood
A king's word, once uttered have to be carried out. Impossible to believe in this day and age? Read on in that case as these forgotten individuals are buried alive in the middle of the desert for attempting a coup against the King of Morocco, for a period of 18 years. One by one they die as all hope diminishes in their permanently dark cells in which they cannot even stand straight. The protagonist is saved by religion as he finds escape from the constant torture in constant prayer. I think anot ...more
esra
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Overwhelmingly heart wrenching. Who would have thought a story about men trapped in a cell would be this eventful ,it wasn’t action packed but its was full of ideas ,memories and genuine emotions . its written in lyrical words every word portrayed the authors emotion exactly.a novel about hopelessness and hopefulness ,cruelty and forgiveness ,Depression and elation and everything human .
Sad_iaaaxd
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favourite books, this story is an incredible journey of human suffering, isolation, hope and perseverance.
Although a harrowing read based on real events, the author manages to explore themes of sanity and humanity in a way that is both humbly written yet powerfully received.
I read this book years ago and still think about it to this day, truly exquisite.
Salsabeel Saif ʚɞ
I can't complete this book, very painful ! ...more
Sam Brown
"The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me:-
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof; so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?"

I can't think of any book - or even any work of narrative art - that has broken me down this much. Nothing like anything I've ever read before, doubt it will be like anything I will ever read again: a part of me cert
...more
Denisa Arsene
This is a story inspired from real events. It is a real sad story. One may say it is about hope and the human's power. But for me, it's all sadness. The suffering is so deep and dark. Hope is nowhere. The humanity is absent. The prisoners are left alone, nagated, ignored, cancelled in their condition as human.
I am wondering what has happened now to the main character of the book. Where is he? How is he? Is he steel alive? How was his life after "the hole"?
I can't help myself wondering about th
...more
Peter
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Most of those who died did not die of hunger but of hatred. Feeling hatred diminishes you. It eats at you from within and attacks the immune system. When you have hatred inside you, it always crushes you in the end."

This book is based on the testimony of Aziz Binebine, a young officer cadet, who in 1971 took part in the coup to overthrow King Hassan II of Morocco at his 42nd birthday celebration at his Skhirat palace. The plot failed, the king survived but almost 100 guests died. Despite claimi
...more
Nilda Brooklyn
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Blinding Absence of Light is the painful true story of political prisoners in King Hasan II’s Morocco, who were kept in an underground prison for decades until their release in 1991. Constructed from interviews of the survivors, Ben Jelloun creates a fictional narrator that laces the physical account of being in a six-by-three-foot cell buried underground and the events that preceded their initial arrests for a failed coup attempt. Reading this book is a claustrophobic and cringe inducing e ...more
Nancy Oakes
Ben Jalloun's novel is based on the story of one Aziz Binebine, who was sentenced to a 20-year stretch of time in the hellhole prison of Tazmamart for his role in the 1971 attempted coup of King Hassan II's Moroccan government. The novel is fictional, but living conditions in the underground prison (now destroyed) are not. It is a study of the human will to survive under the most unimaginable and unspeakable conditions.

The book examines the story of one character, who like others who were sente
...more
Murtaza
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the story of a political prisoner imprisoned by the Morrocan government in horrific conditions at a secret prison. It is the novelized retelling of a true story of this man's experiences. Held in an underground cell without light, so cramped that he could not even stand straight, he was kept incarcerated for over two decades for being an unwitting participant in a failed coup. Many of his compatriots died over the course of their imprisonment, he and a small few handful of others su ...more
Aziza
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I read the gentle and honest booklet called Islam Explained that Ben Jelloun addressed to his daughter after 9/11, I have been a fan. Despite the horrors described in this small novel, I have also fallen for this book. It is about the desert concentration camps in which King Hassan II of Morocco held those who attempted a coup to oust him. What becomes painfully apparent is that most of the soldiers there were actually tricked into participating and could care less about politics. As ...more
Tagwa Warrag
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
تلك العتمة الباهرة

I was fascinated by how he could arise upon the pain and embrace the suffering and struggling, his body was here but his mind and soul were in another world, enriching their insides by stories. They could give up their only food and drink in their dark prison hole just for the seek of a story from "Salim" that would drift them away, and at the last chapter where he had to be exposed to the light and being 're-born' just left me speechless!

Quoting:

" سليم يا صديقي ...أرجوك احك
...more
Ayako
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no Idea What to say!!!


Full of pain and positivity as well dunno how ! but that what I felt

I felt so energetic, I felt I can do anything, I can fight anything, I can survive under any circumstances and I OUGHT to

I have to keep my hope until my last breath !

I got mixed feelings indeed

but what am I really sure about is that I hate injustice and occupancy

I hate playing with peoples fates with no any sort of humanity

Literary, what I really loved about this novel is that, unlikely all ja
...more
Alaa
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Gloomy, depressing, I would say dystopian but it is inspired by true story. The literature/writing is that of quality despite the high level of profanity, which can be explained given the context and the environment.
Barbara
In 1971 a group of army officers staged an unsuccessful attempted coup d’etat against the Moroccan king, Hassan II during his 42nd birthday party at one of his palaces. Over a hundred people died at the scene but the king escaped. Whilst I know little about the king, I spent some time in the mid-1980s with some Moroccan students in France who hated the man with a passion but were mostly reluctant to go into too much detail (not that my schoolgirl French would have helped me very much). As is sho ...more
Sushicat
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morocco
In July 1971 a group of young officers tried a coup against the King Hassan II in Morocco. They failed. 58 eight men were sent to a hellhole called Tazmamart to die a slow, agonizing death. Kept in cells too small to stand up in, with no light, only a bit of air coming in and a hole to get rid of refuse, very little low quality food, no protection against cold or heat, no medical services at all, only a handful of men was finally released 18 years later, thanks to efforts of family and friends w ...more
Mohan Pillay
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At less than 200 pages, a short but hauntingly painful & intense book. It took me much longer to finish that I had expected.

Based on real events, it is a fictional retelling of the 1971 incarceration of failed Moroccan coup members in an underground desert dungeon. A harrowing account of not just trying to stay alive, but sane, in the terrible confines of an unlit cell with no natural light, deliberately built so low it is impossible to stand upright, with no sense of time or when (or if) you w
...more
Nathalie
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
It seems like a have a 'Light' theme going on.. which is actually a cool challenge I might pursue when I'm finished with the centennial one.. which seems to last a hundred years.. ^^

But actually it's a novel I picked because of its color. In my town's library they like to highlight some books according to a theme.. this one was still from Valentine, when they had set up a nook filled with novels with red covers. As was this one.

With Valentine already a few months behind us, I had to rush reading
...more
Kaylin Meredith
This book left a big impact on me. These things really happen to people. These things are happening to people right now, as I write this and as you read it. But humans are truly incredible. Hope is incredible. Life is incredible.
Bryan
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If despair was a river, this book would be a boat on it.
Shelley
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing true story of how one man endured 20 years of torture in a completely dark dungeon in Morocco. The translation is excellent. A testament to the human spirit and the idea that when there's a will to survive it is sometimes possible, with great effort and some luck. Out of the dozens of men imprisoned there, only four survived. ...more
Wissam Hiti
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Blinding Absence of Light traces the events that took place after the coup d’etat
against Hassan II in July 1971 through the eyes of one of its survivors, Selim. While the
putsch deplorably failed, it was also the inception of 18 years of humiliation and
dehumanization in the innards of Tazmamart, an underground prison in the depth of the
Moroccan South. In it 58 soldiers, most of which did not even know at the time of their arrest
that they took part in a coup against the King of Morocco, start
...more
Felix
Aug 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, french
Ben Jelloun's book is written from the perspective of Salim (although his name is referred to so infrequently I thought he was nameless for about half of the book). It's a novel full of suffering and much of what is described is made much more unpleasant by it being based on true accounts. It is not however a pure first hand account - even if it's veracity often feels as though it could be.

The main focus of this novel is how the group of Moroccan cadets try to cope with the brutal conditions of
...more
Maram Bashiti
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extremely appalling book! It left me depressed and psychologically affected. I initially wanted to use this book along with Mustafa Khalifa's book "The Shell" to develop the argument of my thesis which was related to the political prison literature of the Arab World. But this attempt made me suffer and after finishing these two books along with three other related resources, I decided to change the topic of my thesis. If you are interested to know about one aspect of the politics in t ...more
Leslie Ann
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book, read for an Around-the-World reading challenge (Morocco), exceeded my expectations. I was wary of reading nearly 200 pages of prison life. I also am not fond of modern French literature because I find the language too pretentious. Ben Jelloun's prose, however, is straightforward, making the narrator's experience immediate and accessible. Strangely, the last few pages, which describe the narrator's return, are most horrifying.

Two especially arresting passages:
I need words, I dream of
...more
Tasneem
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a testimony that the mind is the greatest gift from our creator , the narrator of the story has suffered unimaginable kinds of torture and agony for 18 years , yet he survived , because he succeed in controlling his mind , his soul would traverse lands and seas , it would travel to see his beloved ones , it would take shelter in the house of Allah , while his body derogated in an abyss of darkness , illness and humidity .

I loved how the narrator rejected all feelings of hate and a
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Mistake in title 2 20 Jun 16, 2019 02:17AM  
، 1 2 Feb 06, 2018 09:06AM  
، 1 2 Feb 06, 2018 09:04AM  
Play Book Tag: This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar ben Jelloun - 5 stars 3 30 Dec 02, 2017 04:09PM  
نادي كلمة للقراءة : نقاش كتاب"تلك العتمة الباهرة" للطاهر بن جلون 2 55 May 30, 2016 12:36AM  
تلك العتمه الفشيخه 1 52 Oct 07, 2014 05:46PM  
العتمة الباهرة 1 13 Oct 07, 2014 02:25AM  

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الطاهر بن جلون
Tahar Ben Jelloun (Arabic: الطاهر بن جلون‎‎) is a Moroccan writer. The entirety of his work is written in French, although his first language is Arabic. He became known for his 1985 novel L’Enfant de Sable (The Sand Child). Today he lives in Paris and continues to write. He has been short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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