Lacunae, erasure, and the impossibility of bearing witness in Boualem Sansal's Le Village de l'Allemand (2008)
Abstract:Le Village de l'Allemand ou Le journal des frères Schiller (2008), the prizewinning Algerian author Boualem Sansal's fifth novel originally published in France, confronts major historical events of the twentieth century: the French occupation of Algeria, the Holocaust, the Algerian War of Independence and Civil War in the 1990s, as well as the banlieues in modern day France. Taking the form of two diaries written by half-German, half-Algerian brothers in the aftermath of discovering their father was a Nazi, the novel sets up testimonies and witnessing by proxy. Putting 'Islamism' and Nazism in contact with one another, Sansal's novel finds a wide audience in translation. Called The German Mujahid and marketed in the United States as 'The first Arab novel to confront the Holocaust', the novel brings together guilt, collaboration, and atonement in a way that ultimately reveals the dangers of history and testimony under erasure, and the impossibility of bearing witness.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: State University of New York
Publication date: 2011-12-19
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