Childhood of a Muslim Girl Growing Up in Pre-Independent Tunisia: by Souad Guellouz a Translation From French Into English of les Jardins Du Nord by Lora Lunt

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Through the devise of a literary autobiography the author describes the experience of contemporary women in North Africa. This book is one of the best examples of the women’s literary movement in the Arab Maghreb.


In this splendid translation, which is a major addition to Maghrebi literature, Professor Lunt has managed to encapsulate the book’s rural flavor and remain faithful to the tone of the novel and the Guellouz text, which highlights family memoires and the author’s reflections. Also, this translation’s contribution shows Tunisian women’s place in the larger community. I believe the Les jardins du nord takes all its significance if we put it in the context of social reforms initiated by the first Tunisian president, Habib bourguiba (1959-1987), and then consolidated by civil society and women of letters such as Souad Guellouz.
-Dr. Abdelkader Cheref,
Statue University of New York at Potsdam

Table of Contents

Foreword: Abdelkader Cheref
The frame story: Chechias and h’lalems
Part I
Chapter 1: One day Sofia saw a horse cry.
Chapter 2: Oumi el Haja, The matriarch. Why she was raised as a boy
Chapter 3: Salah falls in love with a Jewish girl & why Abdelkrim sends Sofia and Fatma to school
Chapter 4: Sofia discovers love and hate
Chapter 5: A grave injustice; Fatma meets the Bey, while Sofia is left at home
Chapter 6: The blue sky of childhood
Chapter 7: Metline a crossroads of cultures - Berber - Arab - Moorish refugees from Seville, Turkish-Hellenic.
Chapter 8: Sofia’s anchor: The bewitching, fecund gardens by the sea.
Chapter 9: The oulà: the annual preparation of couscous: an occasion for women’s solidarity.
Chapter 10: The veil, child brides, and infanticide: the reasons for Abdelkrim’s revolution.
Chapter 11: “Somewhere a door of paradise had closed” the injustice of being born a girl!
Part II
"I come from my childhood just as one comes from a country." Antoine Saint-Expupery (Pilote de Guerre)
Chapter 1: Sofia discovers the “Roumis”
Chapter 2: Why Sofia ‘gave away the keys to her house’ and never mastered Arabic.
Chapter 3: I did not die with that red mark branded on my chest: “Belonging to a colonized country.”
Chapter 4: Sofia decided that she had a bone to pick with Islam.
Chapter 5: Their mother was seen by a stranger.
Chapter 6: At the beginning of the summer that first misfortune had not yet happened.
Chapter 7: “There are no first drafts in life.”
Chapter 8: Ramadan: Little Sofia “fasts” by half days.
Chapter 9: God does not understand French.
Chapter 10: “He has spoiled you. He has opened your eyes”.
Chapter 11: Sofia felt menaced by invisible presences.
Chapter 12: And Sofia’s life was cut in half, but the chain of love was not broken.

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