Based on a true story and inspired by the work of Primo Levi, The German Mujahid is a heartfelt reflection on the harsh imperatives of history.
The Schiller brothers, Rachel and Malrich, couldn’t be more dissimilar. They were born in a small village in Algeria to a German father and an Algerian mother, and raised by an elderly uncle in one of the toughest ghettos in France. But the similarities end there. Rachel is a model immigrant—hard working, upstanding, law-abiding. Malrich has drifted. Increasingly alienated and angry, a bleak future seems inevitable for him. But when Islamic fundamentalists murder the young men’s parents in Algeria the destinies of both brothers are transformed. Rachel discovers the shocking truth about his family and buckles under the weight of the sins of his father, a former SS officer. After Rachel’s suicide, Malrich, the outcast, will have to face that same awful truth alone.
Banned in Algeria, The German Mujahid is a groundbreaking novel. For the first time, an Arab author directly addresses the moral implications of the Holocaust, drawing parallels between Nazism and Islamic fundamentalism. But this richly plotted novel also addresses Algeria’s “dirty war” of the early 1990s and the emergence of grim Muslim ghettos in France’s low-income housing projects. Boualem Sansal confronts these and other volatile issues with unprecedented sincerity and courage.
Boualem Sansal was born in 1949 in Algeria. Since the publication of his debut novel, Le serment des Barbares, which was awarded the Best First Novel Prize in France in 1999, he has been widely considered one of his country’s most important contemporary authors. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Algiers.