The Andalusian House

The Andalusian House

Publishing House: ACTES SUD

Publication Year: 2017

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 464

“La maison andalouse” (The Andalusian House) by Waciny Laredj is a profound narrative that intricately weaves the personal struggles of an individual with the broader socio-political context of contemporary Algerian society. The novel explores a man’s fight to save his ancestral home, delving into family history. Critical examination of modern Algerian society’s ailments, exploring origins and memory erasure.

The story is centered around the Andalusian House, a historical edifice that has stood witness to a diverse cast of occupants – lovers and murderers, angels and demons, nobles and scoundrels, martyrs and traitors. The authorities now intend to demolish this house to construct a grand tower, the Tower of Andalusia, on its site. Murad Basta, the last descendant of an extinct lineage and current inhabitant, staunchly opposes this demolition. For him, destroying the house equates to erasing a part of collective memory.

The Andalusian House was initially built in the 16th century by a Morisco, Galileo Alrojo, who fled from Andalusia. He constructed it as a tribute to his beloved, Sultana Balaethios. Over time, the house endures a brutal assault by Turkish pirates, eventually falling into their control. During the French colonial era, the house transforms into the first municipal building in colonized Algeria. Following Algeria’s independence, the house becomes a focal point for the ‘new blood heirs’ as termed by the novel. Transformation from house to cabaret, brothel, and center for illicit deals unfolds.

Laredj’s novel serves as a bitter allegory of the major dilemmas faced across the Arab world, particularly the challenges of assimilating modernity against a backdrop of continued devastation and societal fractures. “La maison andalouse” was a nominee for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2011, highlighting its significance in capturing the essence of a pivotal period in Algerian and broader Arab history. Narrative symbolizes broader cultural and historical transformations impacting the region.

Read More About Waciny Laredj

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