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6 x 9 in.
129 pp.

Replaced by revised edition


Year of the Elephant
A Moroccan Woman's Journey Toward Independence

By Leila Abouzeid
Translated by Barbara Parmenter
Introduction by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea


Table of Contents and Excerpt


"At a time when there is growing interest in the intersections between gender and war, Year of the Elephant provides an unselfconscious enterprise of self-affirmation."

World Literature Today

"Leila Abouzeid has created a new style, a mosaic of expression with which she describes her old and yet new world of Morocco."

—Ahmed Abd al-Salam al-Bakkah, Moroccan author and poet

In this moving fictional treatment of a Muslim woman's life, a personal and family crisis impells the heroine to reexamine traditional cultural attitudes toward women. Cast out and divorced by her husband, she finds herself in a strange new world. Both obstacles and support systems change as she actively participates in the struggle for Moroccan independence from France.

This feminist novel is a literary statement in a modern realist style. Many novels by women of the Middle East that have been translated reflect Western views, values, and education. By contrast, Year of the Elephant is uniquely Moroccan and emerges from North African Islamic culture itself. Its subtle juxtaposition of past and present, of immediate thought and triggered memory, reflects the heroine's interior conflict between tradition and modern demands. The title refers to a famous battle described in the Koran.

First published in Arabic in Morocco in 1983, this novel almost immediately sold out. It is one of the first Moroccan novels written in Arabic to be translated into English. Leila Abouzeid is an author, script writer, and journalist.

Modern Middle East Literatures in Translation Series
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin

 Also by the Author Return to Childhood
The Director and Other Stories from Morocco
 Of Related Interest El Bouih, Talk of Darkness
Naylor, North Africa

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