The New Yorker: "The narrator of this tragicomic novel has whitened his skin, straightened his hair, and legally changed his name."
Date: Aug 16 2010
To disguise his Algerian heritage and land a job at a French bank, the narrator of this tragicomic novel has whitened his skin, straightened his hair, and legally changed his name—in short, declared “an ethnic war against himself.” Once a devout Muslim, he is now bent on losing his virginity at the belated age of forty. To that end, he abandons the home he shares with his mother in a project on the fringes of Paris and acquires a Left Bank bachelor pad. Bathos follows, in a series of hilariously inconclusive sexual encounters. Less compelling are the postmodern high jinks, as the hero starts to fear that a female writer—a stand-in for the author—is turning him into a character in a novel.