La nuite sacr e, The Sacred Night the night of purge, the night of truth, the night of rebirth With this night, the 27th one of Ramadan, starts the Tahar Ben Jelloun s book a very promising beginning But what is next is just disappointing It is a tale about the role of woman in the Islamic world as a dark, dense, intricate, surrealistic, and almost unbearable story It is not only the mix between reality and hallucinations that disturbs, but also the blending of poetry and violence, and La nuite sacr e, The Sacred Night the night of purge, the night of truth, the night of rebirth With this night, the 27th one of Ramadan, starts the Tahar Ben Jelloun s book a very promising beginning But what is next is just disappointing It is a tale about the role of woman in the Islamic world as a dark, dense, intricate, surrealistic, and almost unbearable story It is not only the mix between reality and hallucinations that disturbs, but also the blending of poetry and violence, and especially that heavy eroticism Sex is abused in this book It is used as a measure of control, lie, freedom, love and desire, hate and revenge And if Zahra may spiritually have won the right to her feminity, she still remained a slave from the sexual point of view And this is only half of freedom Great idea poor realization. What a staggering novel Worst book in ages Didn t manage to finish the last 20 pages. Dans L Enfant de sable, publi en , Ahmed tait la fille d un homme humili de ne pas avoir d h ritier m le, et qui avait d cid , dans le secret de la maison, que celle ci en serait un Elev e en gar on, habill e en gar on, son histoire tait dite par un conteur incertain, fabulateur peut tre Dans La nuit sacr e, Ahmed devenu vieux ou vieille prend son tour la parole et livre sa propre version des v nements la vraie , son autobiographie en somme Le r cit, comme embo t dans le pr c dent peut cependant se lire isol ment This book was completely different from what I was expecting I ve read another book of his, La Remontee des Cendres couldn t find what the English title is , and I think I was expecting something similar sad and hard hitting And The Sacred Night is, but at the same time it really surprised me It s the sequel to The Sand Child, but I haven t read that and I completely understood what was happening in this book.I really liked how difficult it was to separate what was real and what was imagina This book was completely different from what I was expecting I ve read another book of his, La Remontee des Cendres couldn t find what the English title is , and I think I was expecting something similar sad and hard hitting And The Sacred Night is, but at the same time it really surprised me It s the sequel to The Sand Child, but I haven t read that and I completely understood what was happening in this book.I really liked how difficult it was to separate what was real and what was imaginary Zahra s story seems to always be wavering between the two, and what comes out of it, I think, is a story that is mysterious but also strangely satisfying, real, and easily relatable Don t get me wrong, what Zahra goes through is completely horrible and I would never say that I could understand how those events would affect something in real life, but I can connect to the emotions fear, horror, feeling lost, and like you don t know who you are, but also having inner strength The emotional power of this book really struck me.Fair warning, the Zahra s story is not easy to read, and there are definitely parts of the book that 100% are not for everyone I ll list trigger warnings at the end of this review There are also fairly explicit descriptions of sex and the body, but I would like to say that none of them feel gratuitous for those of you who aren t a fan of gratuitous sex scenes They all add to Zahra s character development, and one of the things that I loved most in this book was the emphasis on character development, which I think is really well done.The tone is introspective and emotional, and I would almost classify this book as magical realism, even though it s not really It reminds me a bit of Paulo Coelho s The Alchemist I highly recommend this book keeping in mind the dark subject matter and the trigger warnings , and I can definitely say that I m going to go on to readof his books.Trigger Warnings female genital mutilation, rape or at least dubious consent , violence Nowhere near as good as the first book of this series THE SAND CHILD, which was absolutely brilliant, perhaps one of my favorite books of all time in fact Just read and taught the first one this semester There is no end to the magic and mystery of that slim novel But this sequel acts as a boring literal key to a lot of the charming mystery of the first And it loses all the multi vocal orality of the first as well A real disappointment But anyone who loves really complicated non linear, mul Nowhere near as good as the first book of this series THE SAND CHILD, which was absolutely brilliant, perhaps one of my favorite books of all time in fact Just read and taught the first one this semester There is no end to the magic and mystery of that slim novel But this sequel acts as a boring literal key to a lot of the charming mystery of the first And it loses all the multi vocal orality of the first as well A real disappointment But anyone who loves really complicated non linear, multi vocal narrative should check out The Sand Child and not worry about the sequel This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here A continuation of the story established in The Sand Child, this time from the perspective of the main character, a woman who has lived out her childhood years as a man, the book is the heart wrenching story of her return to her own gender As with The Sand Child, one suspects that some of theunapproachable sections of the book are a result of nuances lost in translation. I was truly expecting a masterpiece and it did start wonderfully until the woman man weirdo started telling her his its life, and then it went downhill, was crude and made no sense at all. The Sacred Night is the sequel to Tahar Ben Jelloun s great novel, The Sand Child Here we follow the life of Ahmad Zahra, born a girl yet out of shame she was raised as a man, after her independence from her family On the most sacred night of Ramadan, her father dies, and it is then and only then that she can embrace her true identity as a woman After having lived for many years as a man , Zahra embarks on a wandering voyage all over Morocco to finally embrace her femininity, her body, her s The Sacred Night is the sequel to Tahar Ben Jelloun s great novel, The Sand Child Here we follow the life of Ahmad Zahra, born a girl yet out of shame she was raised as a man, after her independence from her family On the most sacred night of Ramadan, her father dies, and it is then and only then that she can embrace her true identity as a woman After having lived for many years as a man , Zahra embarks on a wandering voyage all over Morocco to finally embrace her femininity, her body, her sexuality, her life This is even symbolized by the fact that in this novel she is the narrator of the story She tells us readers of there s a folk tale about this girl born and raised as a boy But now we shall discover the true tale Yet alas, through a harrowing series of events, Zahra discovers how much society protected Ahmad the man, and how much Zahra the woman must now face all the horrendous injustices committed against women Even though the novel isn t long, with piercing insight Ben Jelloun through Zahra s eyes doesn t shy away from exposing all the violence and misogyny committed against women in the Moroccan society, and all the misogyny present in it Nevertheless, even though the setting is in Morocco, such violence and injustice is widely present as Ben Jelloun especially sheds a light on different Arabic Muslim societies where, even though culturally they can be different, injustice and misogyny is still rampant Zahra being herself, embracing herself, trying to love herself, nothing , nothing less, caused her misery, and that is the greatest injustice She didn t choose her birth nor did she choose her identity Yet for it, she was condemned.Ben Jelloun is a great story teller His style is particularly enchanting with its use of magical realism The narration smoothly flows in and out of dreams related to the events of Zahra s life, and the story is told like a tragic fairy tale Why a fairy tale Because even in this novel, the events that happen to Zahra almost appear too fictional, yet alas they are very real and even as you read this, many women around the world go through them Further, another great thing about this novel is that even though if you didn t read The Sand Child, you can still read The Sacred Night and be satisfied Nevertheless, I do recommend reading the Sand Child with this one You ll have a far better appreciation for the tale and a better understanding of Zahra s tragedy So this is a very good novel and a worthy follow up to The Sand Child, and I know it will not be the book I read by Ben Jelloun