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Some dream for fools /
Faïza Guène.
imprint
Orlando, Fla. : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
description
156 p.
ISBN
0151014205, 9780151014200
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Orlando, Fla. : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
isbn
0151014205
9780151014200
catalogue key
6866543
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
What happens to people when a lid is put on their dreams? Ahleme lives on the outskirts of Paris, trying to make a life out of the dreams she brought with her from Algeria and the reality she faces every day. Her father lost his job after an accident at his construction site. Her mother was lost to a massacre in Algeria. And her brother, Foued, boils with adolescent energy and teeters dangerously close to choosing a life of crime.As she scopes out the streets of Paris looking for work, Ahleme does battle with the disparities between her dreams and her life, her youth and her responsibilities, the expectations of those back home and the limitations of life in France.An irrepressible spirit with a sharp eye for the absurd and a sharp pencil for writing it all down, Ahleme brings us the same laugh-out-loud, quick-witted humor that made Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow an international hit.
First Chapter
Big City Cold
IT’S FREEZING IN THIS bled, the wind makes my eyes water and I have to run in place to get warm. I tell myself that I’m not living in the right place, that the climate around here isn’t for me, because in the end, climate’s the only thing that counts and this morning the crazy French cold paralyzes me.
     My name is Ahlème and I roam around in the middle of everybody, the ones who run, the ones who beat each other up, are late, argue, make phone calls, the ones who don’t smile, and I see my brothers who, like me, are very cold. I always recognize them, they have something in their eyes that isn’t the same as everybody else, like they want to be invisible, or be somewhere else. But they’re here.
     At home, I don’t complain, even when they cut off the heat, or else Papa tells me: “Don’t even talk, you weren’t here for the winter of ’63.” I don’t answer him, in ’63 I wasn’t even born. So I head out and wander around the wonderfully smooth streets of France, I pass rue Joubert where some hookers yell across the street to each other. You could say that these old, wrecked dolls aren’t afraid of the cold anymore. Prostitutes are the climatic exception, location doesn’t matter, they don’t feel anything anymore.
     My appointment at the temp agency is at 10:40. Not 10:45. Not 10:30. Everything’s precise in France, every minute counts and I can’t seem to make myself get into the rhythm. I was born on the other side of the sea and the African minute has more than sixty seconds.
     On the instructions of M. Miloudi, the adviser at my neighborhood unemployment office, I went to talk to this new place: Interim Plus.
     Miloudi, he’s a real veteran. He’s been at the agency for the Insurrection Housing Projects for years and must have seen through every case in the district. He’s pretty efficient. But he’s also always in a hurry. At my interview, he didn’t waste a minute:
     “Sit down, young lady . . .”
     “Thank you, sir.”
     “And next time, mind that you knock before you come in, please.”
     “Sorry, sir, I didn’t think about it.”
     “I’m telling you for your own good, because that sort of thing could cost you an interview.”
     “I’ll remember.”
     “Good, so let’s get started, no wasting time, we only have twenty minutes ahead of us. You are going to fill out the competency form in front of you, write in the boxes in capital letters and don’t make any spelling mistakes. If there’s a word that makes you hesitate, ask me for the dictionary. You brought your résumé?”
     “Yes. Five copies, like you said.”
     “Very good. Here’s the paper, fill it out carefully. I’ll be back in five minutes.”
 
He took a box of kitchen matches and his pack of Marlboros out of his pocket then left the room, leaving me to stare down my destiny. On the desk there were piles of folders, a mess of papers that blocked your sight, they took up all the space on the desk. And above it all, an enormous clock hung on the wall. Every tick of its hands knocked out a sound that reverberated in me as if it were my death knell. All of a sudden I was hot. I was blocked. The five minutes passed like a high-speed train and I hadn’t written anything but my last name, my first name, and my date of birth.
     I heard M. Miloudi’s hacking cough in the hallway, he came back into the room.
     “So? Where are you? Have you finished?”
     “No, I’m not done.”
     “But you haven’t filled out anything!” he said as he leaned over the paper.
     “I haven’t had enough time.”
     “There are lots of people who are waiting for appointments, I have to see other people after you, you saw them in the waiting room. We only have ten minutes left at the most to contact the SREP, because it won’t help at all to go through the AGPA at this time of year, there aren’t any more spots. We can try FAJ, the paid apprenticeship program . . . Why haven’t you filled it out yet? It’s pretty simple.”
     “I don’t know what to put in the box marked ‘life objective’”
     “Do you have any ideas?”
     “No.”
     “But on your résumé, it’s clear that you have a lot of work experience, there has to be something that you liked in all of that.”
     “I’ve only had little jobs as a waitress or salesperson. Just to make money, sir, not as part of my life objective.”
     “Fine, let’s forget the form, we don’t have time. I’m going to give you the address of our temp agency so you can go while we’re waiting to contact FAJ.”
 
Johanna, an office worker at Interim Plus, looks about sixteen, has a quivering voice, and speaks like every word hurts her. I realize she’s asking me to fill out a questionnaire; she gives me a pen with their ridiculous office logo on it and tells me to follow her. The mademoiselle is wearing ultra-tight jeans that betray every violation of her Weight Watchers diet and give her the look of an adulterous woman. She points me toward a chair near a small table where I can settle in. I have trouble writing, my fingers are frozen, I struggle to loosen them. It reminds me of when Papa—The Boss, as we call him—used to get home from work. He always needed a little time to open his hands. “It’s from the jackhammer,” he said.
     I scratch along, I fill out their boxes, I check things off, I sign my name. Everything is miniscule on their form and their questions are kind of annoying. No, I am not married, I don’t have children, I am not a B-permit cardholder, I haven’t done any higher education, I am not a Cotorep-verified disabled person, I am not French. Where do I find the box marked “My life is a complete failure”? At least with that I could just immediately check yes, and we wouldn’t have to talk about anything else.
     In a compassionate tone, Johanna, her jeans pulled so tight they could make her uterus explode, presents my first “interim mission.” It’s funny that they call them missions. It makes these shitty jobs feel like adventures.
     She offers me a stock job at Leroy Merlin next Friday evening. I say yes without the smallest hesitation, I really need to work and I would take pretty much anything.
     I leave the office all satisfied, proof it doesn’t take much.
     Later I head out to meet Linda and Nawel at La Cour de Rome, a bar near the agency over in Saint-Lazare. They’ve been trying to see me for a few weeks and I admit I dodge going out when I’m broke. And then the last few times, the girls have all been glued to their boyfriends and it wears me out, always feeling uncomfortable planted there alone in the middle of them. I’m not far from winning the Third-Wheel Championship title for all Europe and Africa.
     The girls are set up in a banquette at the back of the room. I knew it, they’re always like that, I know their old secret smoker tricks by heart. Back in the neighborhood, they even have their own headquarters. They’re always fucking around behind the stadium, lighting one up. Their secret phrase for meeting up is: “Let’s go play some sports.”
     As usual, they’re all tricked out. I notice that they’re always classed up and I wonder how they ever find enough time to get dressed, put on makeup, do their hair. Nothing is left to chance, everything matches, is calculated, chosen with care.
     The few times I agree to make this kind of effort, it really takes it out of me, it’s too much work. What won’t we chicks do to draw just one nice look or a compliment in our days racked with doubt. And the ones who say that they do themselves all up like this just for their own pleasure, yeah, my eye!
     When I get to the girls, they light their cigarettes in perfect unison and welcome me with a warm, smoky hello.
     Just to keep things on script, this is followed by a “What’s new?” with a few seconds’ pause afterward to think about an answer before they jump right back into their conversation.
     Then comes the inevitable question I always dread.
     “And how’re things with the boys?” A quick shake of the head does the trick. They understand right away. I wonder why, whenever they ask this question, they make “boy” plural. It’s hard enough to find one love, why make things even more complicated?
     Then, like always, the eternal refrain: “How can a pretty girl like you still be single? It’s because you don’t really want it . . . It’s your fault, you’re too difficult . . . We’ve introduced you to a whole mess of guys, from the beasts to the super-slick, there’s nothing more we can do for you, you’re all closed up.”
     I can’t seem to make them understand that my life isn’t as bad as they think, because if everything goes well menopause isn’t going to come tomorrow. But there’s nothing I can do, they’re just going to keep hitting me with losers.
     Guys with an IQ of 2, who talk themselves up to no end, all pretentious, guys who are incapable of conversation or who are chronically depressed.
     So I manage a magnificent sidestep anyone would be proud of and change the subject—this is my real talent, I’m triple champion of all Africa and Europe at jumping over obstacles and problems.
     Actually I think that, like most people, they already have their lives planned out in their heads, all the elements are there, like pieces of a puzzle that are just waiting to be put together. They split their time between work and play, go on vacation to the same place every summer, always buy the same brand of deodorant, have cool families and boyfriends that they have been with forever. Even their boys are “no-fault” guys, the kind I like but would never personally go away with for a weekend. Not one false note. They all come from the same village as the girls, back in the bled, so that’s going to please their parents. You might say that we’re living out a sort of return to incest. At least with your brother, you can be sure that he comes from exactly the same place as you, you can verify it, ask your mother. The girls find this very practical, because if your traditions are different, your families don’t agree about everything; and then it’s complicated when you’re teaching your kids, when you’re not even speaking the same language . . . Me, I say that these are just ridiculous details, and you shouldn’t build a home on such practical questions.
     Nawel just came back from vacation, she was in Algeria with her father’s family, and I mentioned that she lost lots of weight, at least ten pounds.
     “Oh yeah? I really got skinny?”
     “You’re practically dried up. I almost feel sorry for you, miskina.”
     “It’s the back-to-the-bled effect.”
     “The vacation diet, right?”
     “Yeah, that’s right. . . . The heat, the stuffed green beans at every meal, your grandmother’s jokes, those Chilean soap operas. . . . Of course you lose weight.”
     “But how did you make it? Two months is plenty in the bled, I would have been completely depressed . . .” I asked Nawel, intrigued.
     “Eh, it just passes. The only thing that was a little harsh was that on the TV there was only one channel. Even Mr. Bean is censored there.”
     “At least that means you don’t have to put up with that annoying moment when the whole group is in front of the TV and BAM! there’s a hot sex scene or an ad for douche. Then, the dad starts coughing and you have to be quick, take the remote, and shut that thing right off. This is why now, at my house, we have a satellite dish. It saves us all the time because on French television they love to put naked women all over the screen at the drop of a hat.”
     “And things were good with your family?”
     “My cheap-ass family . . . The first week they loved us because the suitcases were packed full. As soon as we passed out all the gifts, it was over, we didn’t rate with them at all. I told my mother: ‘Next summer, I swear on the Koran, we’d better ask that discount store Tati to be our corporate sponsor.’”
 
Later it’s time to catch up on the neighborhood gossip with Linda.com. She’s a force of nature, a true talker. Linda, she knows what’s happening with everyone, I don’t know how she does it, sometimes she even knows people’s stories before they know themselves.
     “Do you know Tony Lopez?”
     “No, who is he?”
     “Come on, he’s the new guy on sixteen.”
     “The blond?”
     “No, the tall brunet. He works at Midas.”
     “Yeah, and what about him?”
     “He’s going out with Gwendoline!”
     “The little one? The redhead in your building?”
     “No, not her. The anorexic, the one who’s covered with unfinished tattoos. Nawel, you have to know who she is.”
     “Yeah, I know the one, I see her on the bus every time I go to work. Hey maybe you know something that’s always intrigued me, do you know why she’s never finished one of her tattoos?”
     “How is she supposed to know that?” I said naively.
     “No, no, I know?=”
     “Fuck, you freak me out, you’re a real professional gossip you know? Tell us.”
     “She was with this really shady guy before, a tattoo artist. And that’s it. He started all these tattoos on her and he never finished them before he dumped her for another girl.”
     “A true bastard. He could have at least finished the job.”
     “Okay, so the anorexic is going out with Tony Lopez, and what else?”
     “And he wanted to break up with her. According to my sources, it’s because he was messing around with the accountant at Midas. And Gwendoline was so crazy for him, she gave him all this psychological pressure to stay with her. So he ended up staying with her but he made her pay . . .”
     “What? Spill! Stop stringing us along.”
     “She’s knocked up, the little thing. Pregnant up to her eyeballs. Crazy right?”
     And there you go, every time she ends with “Crazy right?”
     She told us two or three stories that had to be whispered before she left us with a smile that made everyone wonder what our secrets were and that shields me from the outside world and its cold.
The platform is black with the crowds, there are service disruptions on the line. One train in four, I think, at least that’s what they said on the radio.
     So I’m forced up against the pole in this car. There’s no air in the RER, everyone’s pushing me, blocking me in. The train sweats and me, I feel smothered by all these sad silhouettes, all looking for a little color. You could say that all the air in Africa wouldn’t be enough. They’re phantoms, they’re sick, contaminated by sadness.
     Me, I’m going back to Ivry to see my neighbor, Auntie Mariatou, and her children. My asthmatic RER will cough me up in my zone where it’s even colder. There are some days like that where you don’t know anymore where you’re going, you feel like you don’t have any luck at all, and that’s just too bad. It’s true that it’s sad, but fortunately, at the end, there’s always this little thing that gets us up in the morning. No guarantee, but you think that one day, one day it will be better. Like Auntie says: “The most beautiful stories are the ones that start badly.”
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2009-04-15:
In this short novel by the author of Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, a young woman named Ahleme searches for work and love in Paris. Although both quests are mostly fruitless, she does end up with a tenuous financial stability. The book's more interesting aspect involves her family: a disabled father and a teenage brother teetering on the brink of delinquency. Her she-wolf love for her brother is especially compelling. Part mother, part bully, Ahleme never relents in her efforts to guide her brother toward the right path. She has had to replace their mother, who died tragically, but that storyline is barely developed; a fuller account would have added weight to a decidedly slight novel. Over everything hangs the protagonist's pining for her native Algeria. This longing is believable if not moving, and the story eventually heads to a satisfying finish.-Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2009-05-25:
In her second novel, Guene poignantly chronicles the lives of Algerian immigrant Ahleme and her family in their adopted France, delicately linking anguish and humor in a realistic portrayal of displacement. After losing her mother to violence at a young age, Ahleme becomes caretaker of her father, "The Boss," incapacitated after a work-related injury, as well as her younger brother, Foued, whose ambitions veer to the criminal. Relegated to working odd jobs, Ahleme drifts, knowing her life might hold more, but held back by the pressing concern of providing for her family. Even though she's lived in France for years, Ahleme remains an orphan of the world at 25, frequently reapplying for residency, hoping to find a boyfriend with documentation. Tellingly, Ahleme muses, "I imagine men with little mustaches in the offices who only have to push a button for it to become an ejector seat and for me to find myself back in the village." Guene aptly depicts how small joys-glimpsing the cohesive family life that friend Auntie Mariatou leads, celebrating the Boss's birthday-take on weight as Ahleme dreams of the future. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"And thanks to [Guene''s] sincerity and her brilliant eye for detail, we, too, quickly understand that while hope may be a mirage, it is a source for humor, wonder, and often dreams, even as she mocks them as only fit for fools."
"And thanks to [Guène's] sincerity and her brilliant eye for detail, we, too, quickly understand that while hope may be a mirage, it is a source for humor, wonder, and often dreams, even as she mocks them as only fit for fools."
"And thanks to [Gune's] sincerity and her brilliant eye for detail, we, too, quickly understand that while hope may be a mirage, it is a source for humor, wonder, and often dreams, even as she mocks them as only fit for fools."
"Faiza Guene charges her second novel with a style of inevitable impact. With resolutely contemporary vocabulary and caustic humor, she pains the soft bitter reality of the life of the city."
"Interesting reading. . . . Some Dream for Fools is a witty story with elements of sadness that truly reflect life in all of its ups and downs, regardless of where you live or how much you earn. It is a short book but very much well worth the read." -Book Lovers Inc. "An effortless enjoyable read." -- Belletrista "[Ahlème''s] description of these immigrant lines, of French officials, of career counselors insistent on finding each person a life mission, of giggling shopgirls dying their hair and wearing too-tight pants to attract men, of washed-out drunks playing games with coins and of more-bark-than-bite thugs who befriend her brother are refreshingly candid and often very funny and universal. She is amused by the absurd and shares her wry observations with an economy of words offered by someone who lives in two languages. She mocks a Western system so dependent on illogical order, so high-strung and fast-paced and so determined that each man and woman must have a higher purpose. Yet, she recognizes that this same excitement and potential of purpose are what keep her grounded in her new world and distance her from her old one. . . . [T]hanks to [Ahlème''s] sincerity and her brilliant eye for detail, we, too, quickly understand that while hope may be a mirage, it is a source for humor, wonder and often dreams, even as she mocks them as only fit for fools. -- Chattanooga Times Free Press "[B]oth [Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow] and [Some Dream For Fools] are books that very successfully take us into another world a world that no nation today can afford to ignore."-- Christian Science Monitor "From Faïza Guène, France's literary wunderkind, a must-read about a girl in the not-so-chic suburbs of Paris." -- Marie Claire "Guène poignantly chronicles the lives of Algerian immigrant Ahlème and her family in their adopted France, delicately linking anguish and humor in a realistic portrayal of displacement. . . . Guène aptly depicts how small joys--glimpsing the cohesive family life that friend Auntie Mariatou leads, celebrating the Boss''s birthday--take on weight as Ahlème dreams of the future."-- Publishers Weekly "[Guène''s] voice is intoxicating. It''s like no one else''s writing. Young Algerian immigrant sensation Faïza Guène has conquered the French literary scene with her tough, honest style, her disarming candor and her mouth full of dirty street slang. . . . [She] writes with so much confidence and in-your-face self-knowledge that the reader laughs all the way through this too-short novel, coming away from it saddened by the grim terms of an immigrant''s life but experiencing a rather pleasant after-effect, a cocky little flare-up of feisty defiance."--Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness "Guène . . . has created a gutsy narrator . . . Ahlème is real, and her tenacity, uncompromising toughness and cynical sense of humor give the novel a hint of joy." -- Kirkus "Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. Our heroine, 24-year-old Ahleme, is an unforgettable narrator, and this is much more than mere social commentary - it''s a funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow." -- Sunday Telegraph , 50 of the best holiday reads (UK) "It''s not an exaggeration to suggest that Guene is doing for the people, especially the youth, of the banlieu what James Kelman and Agnes Owens have done for the deprived of Glasgow''s housing schemes; that is, give a voice to those who have been excluded from literature. Guene is very evidently a natural novelist, a young writer of real talent." -- Scotsman "A tough, funny and powerful book." -- The Gloss magazine "Miss Guene wrests the projects from their reputation as the "Far West" (of Paris) and restores their humanity without painting too rosy a picture-quite the contrary. With her, the France of the projects takes on the feeling of a well-known serial…. She captivates the reader with short scenes, like you would find in the theater. In her world, one keeps from screaming with rage by scoffing, mocking, everything trendy in the suburbs. The language she uses is a triumph among readers." Le Nouvel Observateur (France) "No matter how great the struggle, no misery underscores Faiza Guene's acidic humor. More enlightened sales clerk than a guard-dog, she distills the nuances and hopes in the clichés of the projects. Her creative language, a mixture of playful street slang, elegant sentences, and the African proverbs of Aunt Mariatou not only makes her an effective spokesperson for this world, but also an author entirely in her own right." -- L''Express (France)
"Interesting reading. . . . Some Dream for Fools is a witty story with elements of sadness that truly reflect life in all of its ups and downs, regardless of where you live or how much you earn. It is a short book but very much well worth the read." -Book Lovers Inc. "An effortless enjoyable read." -- Belletrista "[Ahlème''s] description of these immigrant lines, of French officials, of career counselors insistent on finding each person a life mission, of giggling shopgirls dying their hair and wearing too-tight pants to attract men, of washed-out drunks playing games with coins and of more-bark-than-bite thugs who befriend her brother are refreshingly candid and often very funny and universal. She is amused by the absurd and shares her wry observations with an economy of words offered by someone who lives in two languages. She mocks a Western system so dependent on illogical order, so high-strung and fast-paced and so determined that each man and woman must have a higher purpose. Yet, she recognizes that this same excitement and potential of purpose are what keep her grounded in her new world and distance her from her old one. . . . [T]hanks to [Ahlème''s] sincerity and her brilliant eye for detail, we, too, quickly understand that while hope may be a mirage, it is a source for humor, wonder and often dreams, even as she mocks them as only fit for fools. -- Chattanooga Times Free Press "[B]oth [Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow] and [Some Dream For Fools] are books that very successfully take us into another world - a world that no nation today can afford to ignore."-- Christian Science Monitor "From Faiza Guène, France''s literary wunderkind, a must-read about a girl in the not-so-chic suburbs of Paris." -- Marie Claire "Guène poignantly chronicles the lives of Algerian immigrant Ahlème and her family in their adopted France, delicately linking anguish and humor in a realistic portrayal of displacement. . . . Guène aptly depicts how small joys--glimpsing the cohesive family life that friend Auntie Mariatou leads, celebrating the Boss''s birthday--take on weight as Ahlème dreams of the future."-- Publishers Weekly "[Guène''s] voice is intoxicating. It''s like no one else''s writing. Young Algerian immigrant sensation Faiza Guène has conquered the French literary scene with her tough, honest style, her disarming candor and her mouth full of dirty street slang. . . . [She] writes with so much confidence and in-your-face self-knowledge that the reader laughs all the way through this too-short novel, coming away from it saddened by the grim terms of an immigrant''s life but experiencing a rather pleasant after-effect, a cocky little flare-up of feisty defiance."--Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness "Guène . . . has created a gutsy narrator . . . Ahlème is real, and her tenacity, uncompromising toughness and cynical sense of humor give the novel a hint of joy." -- Kirkus "Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. Our heroine, 24-year-old Ahleme, is an unforgettable narrator, and this is much more than mere social commentary - it''s a funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow." -- Sunday Telegraph , 50 of the best holiday reads (UK) "It''s not an exaggeration to suggest that Guene is doing for the people, especially the youth, of the banlieu what James Kelman and Agnes Owens have done for the deprived of Glasgow''s housing schemes; that is, give a voice to those who have been excluded from literature. Guene is very evidently a natural novelist, a young writer of real talent." -- Scotsman "A tough, funny and powerful book." -- The Gloss magazine "Miss Guene wrests the projects from their reputation as the "Far West" (of Paris) and restores their humanity without painting too rosy a picture-quite the contrary. With her, the France of the projects takes on the feeling of a well-known serial.... She captivates the reader with short scenes, like you would find in the theater. In her world, one keeps from screaming with rage by scoffing, mocking, everything trendy in the suburbs. The language she uses is a triumph among readers." - Le Nouvel Observateur (France) "No matter how great the struggle, no misery underscores Faiza Guene''s acidic humor. More enlightened sales clerk than a guard-dog, she distills the nuances and hopes in the clichés of the projects. Her creative language, a mixture of playful street slang, elegant sentences, and the African proverbs of Aunt Mariatou not only makes her an effective spokesperson for this world, but also an author entirely in her own right." -- L''Express (France)
"Interesting reading.... Some Dream for Fools is a witty story with elements of sadness that truly reflect life in all of its ups and downs, regardless of where you live or how much you earn. It is a short book but very much well worth the read." --Book Lovers Inc. "An effortless enjoyable read." -- Belletrista "[Ahlme''s] description of these immigrant lines, of French officials, of career counselors insistent on finding each person a life mission, of giggling shopgirls dying their hair and wearing too-tight pants to attract men, of washed-out drunks playing games with coins and of more-bark-than-bite thugs who befriend her brother are refreshingly candid and often very funny and universal. She is amused by the absurd and shares her wry observations with an economy of words offered by someone who lives in two languages. She mocks a Western system so dependent on illogical order, so high-strung and fast-paced and so determined that each man and woman must have a higher purpose. Yet, she recognizes that this same excitement and potential of purpose are what keep her grounded in her new world and distance her from her old one. . . . [T]hanks to [Ahlme''s] sincerity and her brilliant eye for detail, we, too, quickly understand that while hope may be a mirage, it is a source for humor, wonder and often dreams, even as she mocks them as only fit for fools. -- Chattanooga Times Free Press "[B]oth [Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow] and [Some Dream For Fools] are books that very successfully take us into another world - a world that no nation today can afford to ignore."-- Christian Science Monitor "From Faza Gune, France''s literary wunderkind, a must-read about a girl in the not-so-chic suburbs of Paris." -- Marie Claire "Gune poignantly chronicles the lives of Algerian immigrant Ahlme and her family in their adopted France, delicately linking anguish and humor in a realistic portrayal of displacement.. . . Guneaptly depicts how small joys--glimpsing the cohesive family life that friend Auntie Mariatou leads, celebrating the Boss''s birthday--take on weight as Ahlme dreams of the future."-- Publishers Weekly "[Gune''s] voice is intoxicating. It''s like no one else''s writing. Young Algerian immigrant sensation Faza Gune has conquered the French literary scene with her tough, honest style, her disarming candor and her mouth full of dirty street slang. . . .[She] writes with so much confidence and in-your-face self-knowledge that the reader laughs all the way through this too-short novel, coming away from it saddened by the grim terms of an immigrant''s life but experiencing a rather pleasant after-effect, a cocky little flare-up of feisty defiance."--Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness "Gune . . . has created a gutsy narrator . . . Ahlme is real, and her tenacity, uncompromising toughness and cynical sense of humor give the novel a hint of joy." -- Kirkus "Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. Our heroine, 24-year-old Ahleme, is an unforgettable narrator, and this is much more than mere social commentary - it''s a funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow."-- Sunday Telegraph , 50 of the best holiday reads (UK) "It''s not an exaggeration to suggest that Guene is doing for the people, especially the youth, of the banlieu what James Kelman and Agnes Owens have done for the deprived of Glasgow''s housing schemes; that is, give a voice to those who have been excluded from literature. Guene is very evidently a natural novelist, a young writer of real talent." -- Scotsman "A tough, funny and powerful book." -- The Gloss magazine "Miss Guene wrests the projects from their reputation as the "Far West" (of Paris) and restores their humanity without painting too rosy a picture--quite the contrary. With her, the France of the projects takes on the feeling of a well-known serial.... She captivates the reader with short scenes, like you would find in the theater. In her world, one keeps from screaming with rage by scoffing, mocking, everything trendy in the suburbs. The language she uses is a triumph among readers." - Le Nouvel Observateur (France) "No matter how great the struggle, no misery underscores Faiza Guene''s acidic humor. More enlightened sales clerk than a guard-dog, she distills the nuances and hopes in the clichs of the projects. Her creative language, a mixture of playful street slang, elegant sentences, and the African proverbs of Aunt Mariatou not only makes her an effective spokesperson for this world, but also an author entirely in her own right." -- L''Express (France)
"Miss Guene wrests the projects from their reputation as the 'Far West" (of Paris) and restores their humanity without painting too rosy a picture--quite the contrary. With her, the France of the projects take on the feeling of a well-known serial...She captivates the reader with short scenes, like you would find in the theater. In her world, one keeps from screaming with rage and scoffing, mocking, everything trendy in the suburbs. The language she uses in a triumph among readers."
"No matter how great the struggle, no misery underscores Faiza Guene's acidic humor. More enlightened sales clerk that a guard-dog, she distills the nuances and hopes in the cliches of the projects. Her creative language, a mixture of playful street land, elegant sentences and the African proverbs of Aunt Mariatou not only makes her an effective spokesperson for this world, but also an author entirely in her own right."
Praise for SOME DREAM FOR FOOLS"Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. A funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow." --Sunday Telegraph, 50 of the best holiday reads (UK)Praise for KIFFE KIFFE TOMORROWNYTBR Editor's Choice"[C]ompelling... reveals Guene to be a promising addition to the world's literary voices." -- San Francisco Chronicle"Remarkable . . . a glimpse of life beyond the Paris city limits and into a new, multicultural France . . . Heralded as, alternately, a Gallic version ofWhite Teeth, The Catcher in the RyeandBridget Jones's Diary. . . ." --Salon
Praise for SOME DREAM FOR FOOLS"Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. A funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow." -- Sunday Telegraph , 50 of the best holiday reads (UK) Praise for KIFFE KIFFE TOMORROWNYTBR Editor's Choice"[C]ompelling... reveals Guene to be a promising addition to the world's literary voices." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Remarkable . . . a glimpse of life beyond the Paris city limits and into a new, multicultural France . . . Heralded as, alternately, a Gallic version of White Teeth, The Catcher in the Rye and Bridget Jones's Diary . . . ." -- Salon
"Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. A funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow."
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, April 2009
Publishers Weekly, May 2009
Booklist, June 2009
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Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"A promising addition to the world's literary voices." - San Francisco Chronicle From the author of the international phenomenon Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow comes a new novel about a different side of Paris Praise for Some Dream for Fools from the United Kingdom: "Super-young, super-cool and fast becoming known as one of the hottest literary talents of multicultural Europe, Guene takes us on a tour of the tough suburbs of Paris and Algeria, where having the wrong-colour passport sentences you to a half-life. A funny, intimate and timely book by one of the stars of tomorrow." - The Sunday Telegraph "Guene is doing for the people, especially the youth, of the banlieu what James Kelman and Agnes Owens have done for the deprived of Glasgow...that is, give a voice to those who have been excluded from literature. [A] natural novelist, a young writer of real talent." - The Scotsman Praise for Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow : "[I]nspired...the reader can't help cheering." -- The New York Times Book Review "[Guene's] access to authenticity is matched by a great eye and ear for the funny, infuriating, and hopeful about young womanhood and cultural welter. A-" -- Entertainment Weekly
Main Description
Ahleme, a young woman living on the outskirts of Paris, is trying to make a life out of the dreams she brought with her from Algeria and the reality she faces every day. Her father lost his job after an accident at his construction site. Her mother was lost to a massacre in Algeria. And her brother, Foued, boils with adolescent energy and teeters dangerously close to choosing a life of crime. As she wanders the streets of Paris looking for work, Ahleme negotiates the disparities between her dreams and her life, her youth and her responsibilities, the expectations of those back home and the limitations of life in France. With the same laugh-out-loud, razor-sharp humor that made Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow an international hit, Some Dream for Fools shows Faiza Guene's evolution as a novelist and reminds us of her extraordinary talent as she explores what happens to people when a lid is put on their dreams.
Main Description
When Ahleme's mother was killed in a village massacre, she left Algeria for France with her father and brother and never returned. Now, more than a decade later, she is practically French, yet in many ways she remains an outsider. Her dreams for a better life have been displaced by the harsh realities she faces every day. Her father is unable to work after an accident at his construction site. Her brother boils over with adolescent energy and teeters dangerously close to choosing a life of crime. And as a temporary resident, Ahleme could at any moment be sent back to a village and a life that are now more foreign than Paris. InSome Dream for Fools, Faiza Guene explores the disparity between the expectations and limitations of immigrant life in the West and tells a remarkable story of one woman's courage to dream.
Main Description
When Ahlème's mother was killed in a village massacre, she left Algeria for France with her father and brother and never returned. Now, more than a decade later, she is practically French, yet in many ways she remains an outsider. Her dreams for a better life have been displaced by the harsh realities she faces every day. Her father is unable to work after an accident at his construction site. Her brother boils over with adolescent energy and teeters dangerously close to choosing a life of crime. And as a temporary resident, Ahlème could at any moment be sent back to a village and a life that are now more foreign than Paris. In Some Dream for Fools , Faïza Guène explores the disparity between the expectations and limitations of immigrant life in the West and tells a remarkable story of one woman's courage to dream.
Main Description
With the same laugh-out-loud, razor-sharp humor that made "Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow" an international hit, "Some Dream for Fools" shows Guene's evolution as a novelist as she explores what happens to people when a lid is put on their dreams.

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