BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Algériennes: The Forgotten Women of the Algerian Revolution by Swann Meralli, illustrated by Deloupy, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger [in Booklist]

While reading about the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62), contemporary French woman Beatrice learns she has a specific label: she’s an “enfant d’appelé,” literally “a child of one called up” to serve in the Algerian War. Her father was such a soldier, but he’s never revealed his memories: “I did my military service, and that’s it!”

Beatrice’s mother, however, shares how she barely escaped a 1956 bombing in Algeria and then encourages Beatrice to keep asking questions, inspiring her to embark on a haunting journey of interconnected discoveries: Saïda escaped Algeria with only some of her family; rebel Djamila witnessed barbarity on both sides; third-generation French Algerian Bernadette refused to leave; guerrilla-bomber-turned-politician Malika survived the most heinous abuses of all. Listening to these women, the demarcations of right and wrong quickly blur, but one message is crystal clear: “The war for independence was a women’s war, too, within a man’s war.”

Although the specific women here are fictional, their experiences are not. Author Swann Meralli and artist Deloupy, anglicized by Ivanka Hahnenberger, provide these Algériennes hard-won space to be heard.

Review: “Graphic Novels,” Booklist, September 1, 2020

Readers: Adult

Published: 2020


No Comment

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.