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The Bridges of Constantine
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message 1: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane  | 12949 comments Start discussion here for The Bridges of Constantine by Ahlam Mosteghanemi.


About the Book (from the publisher)

The Bridges of Constantine is a poignant fresco of Algeria over the last 50 years, a searing love story and a hymn to a lost city. Khaled, a former revolutionary in the Algerian war of liberation has been in self-exile in Paris for two decades, disgusted by the corruption that now riddles the country he once fought for. He has become a celebrated painter, and at the opening of one of his exhibitions, Hayat, the daughter of his old revolutionary commander, unexpectedly reenters Khaled's life. Hayat had been just a child when he last saw her, but she has now become a seductive young novelist.

Khaled is consumed with passion for her, and she comes to embody the homeland and the city he still grieves for – the city he paints over and over again in his canvases. Through Hayat, his past is breathed back into life and he at last begins to confront his feelings about Algeria. But for Hayat, as elusive as she is tender, the question of what one should yearn for is not so simple, and the choices she makes will have devastating consequences for them both.

The first novel in an award-winning, bestselling trilogy that spans Algeria's tumultuous recent history, The Bridges of Constantine is a lyrical and heartrending love story about loss and remembrance, exile and belonging.


About the Author

Algerian novelist and poet Ahlem Mosteghanemi is the bestselling female author in the Arab world. In December 2016 she was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace. She has more than 10 million followers on Facebook and was ranked in the top ten most influential women in the Arab World by Forbes in 2006. The first book in her trilogy of bestselling novels, Bridges of Constantine, was published by Bloomsbury in 2013, and has been translated into several languages and adapted into a television series.


Mome_Rath | 1406 comments So did no one else read this book? I may be an outlier here, but this was the type of story I despise -- a tiresome tale of an older writer/artist who becomes infatuated with a younger woman and obsesses the entire novel about his love. For 300 pages. It was a bridge too far.

Kudos that this was written by a woman, who was able to capture the older male author fantasizing about an affair with a younger woman trope so well. I wonder if she had someone in mind who she happened to "kill" with this novel. And while I understand this book was also a metaphor for exiles having to let go of their homeland, I wanted more of the geography and history of Constantine and Algeria and less of the lovelorn artist. Not my favorite book, but I did love learning about the beautiful bridges of Constantine afterwards (I definitely recommend looking them up online).


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