For Bread Alone

For Bread Alone

3.52 (6,099 ratings by Goodreads)
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Driven by famine from their home in the Rif, Mohamed's family walks to Tangiers in search of a better life. But things are no better there. Eight of Mohamed's siblings die of malnutrition and neglect, and one is killed by Mohamed's father in a fit of rage.

On moving to another province Mohamed learns how to charm and steal, and discovers the joys of drugs, sex and alcohol. Proud, insolent and afraid of no-one, Mohamed returns to Tangiers, where he is caught up in the violence of the 1952 independence riots. During a short spell in a filthy Moroccan jail, a fellow inmate kindles Mohamed's life-altering love of literature.

A cult classic, For Bread Alone is an astonishing tale of human resilience and an unflinching and searing portrait of the early life of one of the Arab world's most important and widely read authors.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 169 pages
  • 135 x 210 x 18.29mm | 204.12g
  • Telegram Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 1846590108
  • 9781846590108
  • 127,876

Review quote

'The illiterate remembers everything. It seems almost a stroke of good luck that Choukri's encounter with the written word should have come so late. As a writer, he is in an enviable position, though he paid a high price for it in suffering.' Paul Bowles 'A true document of human desperation, shattering in its impact.' Tennessee Williams 'A book to read, cherish and remember - and to show us again why we need books as well as bread.' Morning Star; '[An] extraordinarily vivid, uncensored immediacy ... Using only undemonstrative prose, and asking for no special sympathy, Choukri conveys the experience of struggling to survive in a harsh world of dusty streets and unforgiving sunlight.' Nicolas Clee, Guardian; 'Five stars ... Achingly elegant ... Choukri's irrepressible, ultimately indomitable spirit is most touching and human.' Independent; 'Richly descriptive and engaging ... An enjoyable and worthwhile read.' Socialist Review
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About Mohamed Choukri

Mohamed Choukri is one of North Africa's most controversial and widely read authors. At the age of twenty he decided to learn to read and write classical Arabic. He went on to become a teacher and writer, finally being awarded the chair of Arabic Literature at Ibn Batuta College in Tangier. Paul Bowles, perhaps best known for his novel The Sheltering Sky, collaborated closely with Choukri on the translation of For Bread Alone. The story of Choukri's life is continued in Streetwise.
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Rating details

6,099 ratings
3.52 out of 5 stars
5 24% (1,450)
4 31% (1,907)
3 26% (1,600)
2 11% (649)
1 8% (493)
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