The Savage Night

The Savage Night

The Savage Night

The Savage Night


The Savage Night collects thirteen stories by Mohammed Dib, one of the founding fathers of North African literature. Whether set in present-day Algeria, depicting the war for independence, or evoking memories of the colonial era, many of the stories in The Savage Night paint a vivid picture of the diverse facets of the Algerian question. Dib's other settings include Latin America, war-torn Sarajevo, and Paris. A major element unifying his work is the unanswered question of human brutality. In the face of our shameful indifference, Dib shows us that senseless violence is a daily reality for many. The Savage Night is the first book-length English translation of Dib's work.


Mohammed Dib, the prolific Algerian-born writer, is hailed not only as one of the founding fathers of North African literature but more generally as one of the leading French-language authors writing today. Dib suggests that the secret to understanding the diversity of his work lies, paradoxically, at the heart of its discontinuity, in discovering the similarities that contribute to creating a unified whole. In the afterword to this collection, Dib explains that one element unifying his work is the inexplicability of human brutality.

Exiled from his homeland in 1959, Dib has never shied from what he considers the moral responsibility of his role as a writer. Ever faithful to his origins, Dib’s roots sink deep into his native land in an attempt to understand those more profound ramifications that are common to the whole of humanity, thereby developing an extraordinary palette of rich and varied themes. This quest lends a distinguished temper to his vision, gives a resonant tone to his voice. He remarks, “The fact that writing entails a risk restores a certain stamp of nobility to literature. Yet today, it is less a question of nobility than one of simple survival in the vast and chattering desert that has spread over a large part of the planet.”

Today, more than ever, faced with the untold and ongoing wrongs of our time, Dib’s voice rings out in clear protest. The universal struggle for survival that is so often thwarted by the absurdity of the “chatter” — or to be more direct, barbarity — is precisely what many of the tales in The Savage Night bring to light.

The stories in themselves represent a remarkably wide range of points of view and serve as an admirable vehicle for Dib’s skilled use of French. Here, the sustained level of language illustrates Dib’s uncanny ability to capture a starkly pure reality cleansed of superficiality. As we are led through the astonishing landscape of his . . .

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