You Deserve A Country
Original title: Tu mérites un pays
Leïla Bouherrafa gracefully takes the plunge into her second novel. A beautiful freedom in her writing, a falsely naïve, biting and cheeky tone in the manner of a “Zazie” from elsewhere: this novel is a success. — Canard enchainé
A realistic and tourmenting writing. — Causette
“You must be the happiest young woman in the world.”
That’s what Marie-Ange, the agent at the Refugee Assistance Bureau, says to Layla as she hands her the acceptance of her naturalization application.
But what can “being the happiest young woman in the world” mean when you have left all of your loved ones behind, you live at the Dorothy – a filthy, rodent-infested hotel run by an unscrupulous slumlord, and your job is scrubbing toilets at Mrs. Meng’s café until they shine? When sweet Momo, her friend and compass, has to shut down his wonderful merry-go-round because Paris’s Town Hall thinks he’s “too bearded,” and your flat-mate, Sadia – beautiful, rebellious Sadia – humiliates herself regularly for a fistful of euros?
Vibrant with both anger and humanity, You Deserve A Country describes an exiled woman’s obstacle course in France, where she’s never quite “French enough.” It is also the story of an emancipation, held aloft by a singularly powerful writing style, at once scathing and poetical.