The Sorrows of a Young Tangerian

Set in the early 1960s, the third part of Smihi's Tangier trilogy finds Larbi Salmi navigating both young adulthood and the early years of Moroccan independence. Debating God's existence with his devout father, literature with a beautiful teacher from Paris, and national politics with his friends (“the proletariat is with us!”), Larbi slowly awakens to his own intellectual potential, but also to how such potential can be crushed. Like Goethe in Sorrows of Young Werther, Smihi eloquently captures the emotions of first love; here, the passions are also Hollywood stars, European writers, Islamic philosophers, and Moroccan politics, each swooned over or debated by Larbi and his colleagues amid the cool and delicate Maghrebi architecture of their greatest love of all, Tangier.

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