Land and Blood
Mouloud Feraoun. Translated by Patricia Geesey. afterword by Patricia Geesey
In Land and Blood, his second novel, the Algerian-Kabyle writer Mouloud Feraoun offers a detailed portrait of life for Algerian Kabyles in the 1920s and 1930s through the story of a Kabyle-Berber man, Amer. Like many Kabyle men of the 1930s, Amer leaves his village to work in the coal mines of France. While in France, he inadvertently kills his own uncle in an accident that sets in motion forces of betrayal and revenge once he returns home.
Unlike The Poor Man’s Son, his first fictional work, Land and Blood is not autobiographical but is rather the first in a series of novels Feraoun planned to write about immigrant ties between France and Algeria in the years leading up to World War II. Through Amer’s story, Feraoun unveils what daily life was like in a poor village of colonial-era Algeria. Published in 1953, a year before the outbreak of the Algerian War, Land and Blood provides a fascinating account of Muslim, Berber-Arab social, cultural, and religious practices of rural Algeria in the pre-independence era.
Mouloud Feraoun can perhaps be considered one of the 'Founding Fathers' of francophone literature from North Africa.... Patricia Geesey has done an excellent translation of Feraoun’s novel and a superb job in presenting it to an English-speaking audience.
[A] drama played out with huge stakes in a dense, richly rewarding novel memorializing a little-known world in transition.
A tireless author and educator, Mouloud Feraoun (1913–1962) was assassinated by a French terrorist group only three days before the cease-fire that marked the beginning of Algerian independence. His Journal, 1955–1962: Reflections on the French-Algerian War was published posthumously to great acclaim. Patricia Geesey, Professor of French at the University of North Florida, has published work in journals such as the French Review, World Literature Today, and Research in African Literatures.