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Vita sessuale di un fervente musulmano a Parigi

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  300 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Un quarantenne parigino di origini maghrebine, con un passato di fervente islamista, diventa direttore di banca. Belloccio e benestante, decide che è giunto il momento di affittarsi una garçonnière in pieno Saint-Germain-des-Prés, il quartiere più intellettuale e raffinato di Parigi. Basta con i couscous della domenica a casa di mamma nella banlieue di Saint-Ouen, basta co ...more
Paperback, Dal mondo, 229 pages
Published October 2009 by e/o (first published August 22nd 2007)
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Once again, I found myself at the conclusion of the evening with my plans all awry, the girl - Nadja? Yasmina? Djamila? - fled into the night on the feeblest of pretexts. It is for the best, Mohamed, said the voice in my right ear. Why don't you call your mother? But I ignored the eight messages that were still blinking on my voicemail and, listening instead to the voice in my left ear, clicked on the Goodreads site, the very portal of Iblis, and sent a friend request to the first name I saw, a ...more
Complete coincidence saw me reading this directly after Old Masters. There are odd points of comparison. Firstly, they are both related by others. 'Reger told me...' and, in this one, 'It came over me all of a sudden, he said.' So, in both we are aware of an interpretation going on, a reporting of the story even though 'he said' immediately becomes 'I'.

Secondly, both main characters are deeply unhappy and find the world an entirely unsatisfactory place. But whereas Reger is a completely detestab
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: algeria, francia
Woody Allen è forse diventato musulmano?
E' scritto da una donna, una scrittrice algerina che vive a Parigi: un particolare che ha subito acceso la mia curiosità.
Penso che se Woody Allen fosse nato musulmano avrebbe scritto un libro così.
E io non vedo l'ora di leggere il romanzo di Leila Marouane che tre anni fa ha vinto il premio Jean-Claude Izzo, "La jeune fille et la mere".
I'm utterly bewildered. I'm not sure what the author, Leila Marouane, was driving at or if I came away with any kind of understanding at all. Because Marouane is a Muslim and an Algerian who was exiled as a child to Tunisia and now lives in Paris, I feel she has an axe to grind, but where is it? (She has, in fact, been labeled a feminist-Arab author and her work has been censored in Egypt and other parts of the Arab world.) The book is elegantly written and shows a great, understated sense of hu ...more
It started off well. A forty-year old virgin moves out to live in a swanky Parisian apartment but can he escape his mother? Divisions within a culture and between cultures destroy women AND men -- a common enough message but here, at least in the beginning, delivered with light humor and compassion and imagination. Momo/Basile fails so spectacularly at being a Mediterranean macho that the reader cannot but smile at him. What happens latter in the book is intense metafiction of which I cannot mak ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Initially redeemed by its light-touch humour, the book just lost it by the end. Dark, depressing and clearly the oddest book I have read all year (and I kept asking myself, 'do I have to keep reading this?')
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read The World: Algeria
Definitely my favorite of the Read the World list so far but I'm just now through the 'A's.
Clever and whimsical and really captures the life as an Algerian in the French diaspora.
I read this a few weeks ago and have been puzzling over it. The story follows an Islamic man living in his mother's house on the outskirts of Paris. He is a 40ish virgin, has no prospects for love or marriage, and has a good job (we are told). His younger brother wants to marry but can't because his brother (apple of my eye to his mama) hasn't done so yet. So he decides to move out on his own. He sets himself up in a fabulous apartment in just the right arrondissement and from there the story ta ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my god. This is such a mind-blowing book.

I decided to pick up this book as part of my efforts to broaden the cultural base of the books I read. I recently realized that since I typically read in English, most of the books I read are written by British or American writers. And that is sad because there's a plethora of good books out there that are worth reading, yet I do not hear about them because the reading environment I typically inhabit don't publicize these books nor their authors. So I
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves a much better rating than it's gotten here. It can come off as breezy and vapid unless you really look beneath the surface. The real story is written between the lines, and that's the brilliance in Marouane's writing.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book because I planned to join a book group that is reading books from all the countries of the world in alphabetical order. The story actually takes place in Paris but it was chosen as an Algerian book, since the protagonist Mohamed Ben Mokhtar, who has Frenchified his name to Basile Tocquard, and his family are Algerian. Basile, as I'll call him, is a 40-year-old bachelor who lives on the outskirts of Paris with his mother. He's been an observant Muslim, but now that he ...more
Paul Shewmaker
I’m completely confused about what the author was trying to say. Is this a simple story of a lapsed Islamist trying to get his freak on? Or is it the story of mental illness and the impact on this man and his family? Maybe it’s both? I was most frustrated by the author’s style. Who was speaking? The voice switched tenses and first person to second person mid sentence. Maddening. If the idea was to convey mental state it worked. It made me crazy. I did get value from the book from the inside view ...more
Céline Morais
Roman qui décrit la difficulté d'un immigrant algérien des années 90, pris dans la difficulté de vivre entre sa culture religieuse stricte et l'intégration à cette autre culture, beaucoup plus libertaire. Écrit avec humour, le roman s'égare souvent dans un verbiage qui quoique nécessaire, devient lassant.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic tragi-comedy about a man caught between two conflicting cultures. I love books about conflicted characters and would-be Lothario, the 40-year-old virgin Mohammed fits the bill perfectly. If only the ending was more decisive.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Freedom, frustration, repression, madness. I'm glad for the book group I joined, which helped me dig into my reflections on this book. Nonetheless, I'm still not quite sure where I stand with it.
Michele Ponte
Quanti di voi sanno che nell’Islam c’è un colore principale, il verde? E che un ragazzo farebbe meglio a non sposarsi se il fratello maggiore non ha ancora convolato a nozze?
Certo, non tutti i musulmani sono così rigidi, però è bello apprendere le tradizioni di altri popoli attraverso un romanzo. Niente libri di scuola, ma solo una lettura piacevole, cosa si vuole di più?

Leïla Marouane, la scrittrice algerina residente in Francia più tradotta da sempre, firma un nuovo romanzo e questa volta ci i
May 21, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read the following review on Shelf Awareness. Parts of Mohamed sound so much like someone I know (especially the 3rd paragraph below) that I can't wait to read it. My review to follow.
Mohamed used to be the perfect Muslim. He came from a conservative, fanatical small town in Algeria. He led the prayers and recited sermons. Now he's living in Paris and using skin-whitening cream. He's straightened his hair. He's turned his back on his Arabic past. He works at a bank, like a good capitalist. H
Kathleen Valentine
The narrator of this strange and fairly erotic tale is a 40-something Algerian man living with his mother and brother in a suburb of Paris. He has a good job and aspires to an even better one in a Paris bank. Living at home he is under his mother's control and she is trying to marry him off to an acceptable Muslim girl but he has other ideas. He has straightened his hair, lightened his skin, and changed his name with the intention of embarking on wild sexual adventures. The book starts out quite ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book for free from the Multnomah County Library stall at Good in the Hood, so I started with understandably low expectations. I was going for some light, and spicy, summer night reading to offset the political economic books I read during the day. The Sexual Life provided just that, and although I found the protagonist's descriptions of women to be blatant objectification, it was obviously a parody. I found the analysis of living as an Algerian Muslim to be very interesting. I wrote m ...more
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible. Yes, the title is provoking, but don't let it scare you away. This novel is thought-provoking, interesting, well-translated, and - educational.

Marouane has provided allot to think about. She exposes us to topics of women's issues and feminism, cultural and racial identities, and even paints a picture of current migration trends in Africa/Europe. All this through a fictional novel that provides us something to hold on to, until ... well, you can't keep your grasp any long
Margherita Dolcevita
Ma la vita sessuale del titolo, precisamente, dov'è nel romanzo?
Sarà che mi aspettavo qualcosa di totalmente diverso, ma questo libro è stato un po' una delusione.
Di fatto il protagonista è un uomo seriamente antipatico e sgradevole vittima di una madre che gli telefona tutte le domeniche alle 9, un uomo che affitta una casa per quagliare ma che poi si ritrova da solo in bagno a provvedere ai suoi bisogni in solitaria.
Del conflitto etnico, dell'essere di un'altra etnia in uno stato occidentale
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book out of my continuing interest in the situation of immigrants in France and of the implications for France. The book presents a lot of problems with no easy answer, but I didn't feel that it gave me a new perspective on any of them.
It is funny--which is always a nice surprise--and the comedy comes largely from the "sexual life" (or lack thereof) mentioned in the title. The relationship between the grown Algerian man and his overbearing mother is the other source of comedy and pa
Satinder Hawkins
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a sly commentary on how traditional cultures simultaneously infantilize men (inept at basic tasks of everyday life, incapable of interacting with women on a non-sexual human level, a childish relationship with their mothers, etc) while at the same time giving them extraordinary power to make decisions about the lives and fates of women. The combination of these two makes for some very funny situations but ultimately this is a book about how such combined factors lead to unheal ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, africa
This was funnier than I expected, and very readable. Interesting to get the perspective on families living in the banlieues of Paris, family and cultural tensions, first- and second-generation immigrant experiences. The structure - of the novelist lifting the story from the protagonists notes (and also telling her?) - felt clumsy and only partially-realized, and could have been either omitted or embellished. Overall pretty flat and dry.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, foreign-authors
I enjoyed the beginning of this book, but somewhere in the middle I felt like I messed up and started reading another book by mistake, or maybe half of one book got mixed up with half of another. The ending was beyond confusing. Maybe if I read it again, knowing the ending, it would make more sense, but I won't do that to myself. For those who get it on Kindle, be aware that the formatting is messed up a little. It's not bad enough to make it unreadable, but it is slightly off.
Denise Ferniza
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: denise-books
So strange. I got the same feeling when I read Confederacy of Dunces. Its about a 40 year old man, his sexual exploits, his family issues, and dealing with being an Algerian in Paris. Sounds simple enough.... than it gets bizarre. The book is narrated by the man but I really started questioning his perspective about halfway through the book. The book left me a little confused but definitely interesting.
Josie Eldridge
Interesting, not quite what I'd expected from the start. I almost put this down because of my dislike of the main character. Certain elements of the plot were becoming obvious midway through the novel. An interesting exploration of ideology, misogyny and narcissism. I'd maybe reread to try and work out why the protagonist's story is being filtered through a woman's voice - perhaps she's the mysterious author who keeps appearing in his life to steal other people's stories?
Kelly Lynn Thomas
This book is probably hard for most Americans to get into. It's very metafictional, for one, but the themes of identity crises with the Muslim population in France will also go right over your head unless you're somewhat aware of French/Muslim culture. I suggest doing a bit of research before picking this book up. The ending still felt like a cop-out to me, but the book is at least funny.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-authors
I'm torn between giving this a 3 or a 4.

The perspective of a Muslim in France trying to 'Westernize' himself is one that is completely foreign to what I know/live so I did find that interesting.. parts of it were funny, and I do enjoy a little metafiction thrown in. Maybe that wasn't executed quite perfectly, but it was a great twist.
I think I DID get a lot of this book, as I have followed issues about Algerians and North Africans in France. An interesting take on identity issues and on fiction, it was a 3.5 star book until just near the end -- the last 10 pages lost me. I would love to know what the reception of this book was like in France.
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“Biological racism has given way to cultural racism. It is no longer the color of one’s skin or the shape of one’s nose that are stigmatized, but a certain manner of being.” Les Damnés de la terre” 0 likes
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