From the Archives: A Coastal Village, When Summer Gives It the Slip

By Susan Harris

As the Northern Hemisphere's summer crawls to a close, we recommend Yasmina Khadra's "Absence."  In an Algerian resort town at the end of the season, shy, dreamy teen Nasser waves good-bye to the departing Noria, the object of his mute yearning. Wandering the deserted streets, Nasser imagines the conversations he never had with Noria, and ends up in her bedroom in her family's now-empty villa. The tone shifts from elegiac to tragic, as summer's end turns out to be only one of many, and the multiple meanings of absence become clear.


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