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This powerful and shocking narrative recounts the adventures of Abdeslam, a precocious twelve-year-old Moroccan boy who runs away from his home in the Rif Mountains to Tangier. There he struggles to retain his childlike innocence and native pride while striving to support himself in the corrupt and decadent international port. He takes up with a longshoreman and soon meets ...more
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by City Lights Books
(first published 1969)
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one of my favorite places to buy books in nyc is not a bookstore at all. its simply a table, set up on the sidewalk, covered in books, usually old, with the prices written in pencil under the front cover. there are several of them around the city, mostly in lower manhattan and brooklyn. i cannot walk past one without stopping, whether planned or not, and i am usually rewarded. one such time, my fingers gravitated towards The Lemon by Mohammed Mrabet, not because i had heard of it, but because of ...more
This is one of my favorites of Mrabet's so far. One thing I really liked was that the significance of the title is delayed quite a while. Also, while the plot is actually quite dark, somehow it doesn't come across that way, maybe because the succinctness prevents you from dwelling on it too much. Instead you get caught up in the unpredictable, dangerous flow of this kid's life, and you soon find yourself rooting for him. He's clever (yet sometimes foolish) bluntly honest, tough and restless. Man ...more
I bought "The Lemon" as a discarded library book at the Park Ridge Library in May 1981. It has been part of my itinerant library moving to Saudi Arabia a few months later, back to the U.S., back to Saudi Arabia, to Virginia, to Houston, to California, back to Virginia, and now up to New York, I purchased the book because it was translated and edited by Paul Bowles, whom I had read while in Algeria. "The Lemon" is sort of an existentialist book in the tradition of Albert Camus' "L'etranger", whic ...more
Great book. I was reading it to learn a bit about Moroccan culture but was unprepared to be gripped by this young guy's story. Its richly written and hard to read at times but completely transported me to the world of Abdesalam. It describes the dilmmas facing a young manas he tries to decided what sort of man to be and how to survive in a world full of unsatisfactory adults.
Mohammed Mrabet (real name Mohammed ben Chaib el Hajjem; born March 8, 1936) is a Moroccan author artist and storyteller of the Ait Ouriaghel tribe in the Rif region. Mrabet is mostly known in the West through his association with Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Tennessee Williams. Mrabet is an artist of intricate, yet colorful, felt tip and ink drawings in the style of Paul Masson or a more de ...moreMore about Mohammed Mrabet