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Zabor, or the Psalms (Zabor ou les psaumes)



Original Language: French | 336 pp. | August 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Nordic and English (North American) rights.

Under option: USA, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway


“A second sparkling novel…. This lyrical text possesses a magic force…. Through this demanding novel, with an almost Persian perfume, the writer affirms his singularity within an Algerian society undermined by beliefs that obscure the imaginary horizon. ” — Kerenn Elkaim, Livres Hebdo

Having lost his mother and been shunned by his father, he grows up in the company of books, which afford him a new language. Ever since he can remember, he has been convinced that he has a gift: if he writes, he will stave off death; those captured in the sentences of his notebooks will live for longer. Like a kind of inverted Scheherazade saving his fellow men, he experiments night after night with the delirious power of the imagination. On this particular evening, all the progeny of the stepmother come knocking at the door: the father is going to die and perhaps only Zabor is capable of delaying the fateful moment. Sitting next to the father who has ostracised him, the son writes compulsively, retracing an existence characterised by strangeness, abandonment and humiliation but also by wondrous encounters with countless fictional worlds which he alone in the entire village has ever had access to. A fable, parable and confession, Kamel Daoud’s second novel pays homage to the essential need for fiction and to the insolent freedom afforded by an adopted language.

Born in 1970 in Mostaganem, Kamel Daoud lives in Oran. A journalist and columnist for some twenty years, for over fifteen years he wrote the most widely read column in Algeria for the daily newspaper Le Quotidien d’Oran. In recent years, he has contributed regular articles to the international press and in the spring of 2016 he was awarded the Prix Lagardère for journalist of the year. With Actes Sud, he has published a collection of short stories, La Préface du nègre (Babel n° 1291), his debut novel, Meursault, contre-enquête (2014; Goncourt for the best first novel, Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie, Prix François-Mauriac, Prix liste Goncourt / le choix de l’Orient, Prix liste Goncourt / le choix roumain, Prix liste Goncourt / le choix serbe) which brought him international acclaim (over thirty translations published or in preparation), and Mes indépendances. Chroniques 2010-2016 (2017)