Liqueur of Aloe
Translated by Terence Golding
ISBN: 978-1-944884-94-9 (pbk.)
(November 1, 2021, Preorders available)
This moving memoir by Jocelyne Laâbi chronicles her experience as the daughter of a French colonial who moved to Morocco from Lyon when she was very young. Her evocative and elegant recollections of the Morocco of her youth give way to her discovery of her father’s dark past in France during the Second World War and her gradual awakening to the realities of colonial misrule and the early “années de plomb” (“years of lead”) of Hassan II, as the Moroccan King tightened a violent grip on the country and its people. She then tells the story of her assimilation into Moroccan culture, culminating in her marriage to poet Abdellatif Laâbi and their collaboration on the influential literary/political journal Souffles and its Arabic counterpart, Anfas. Abdellatif’s activism put him at odds with the repressive regime and earned him a ten-year sentence in one of the cruelest prison systems in North Africa, as Jocelyne struggled with the demands of her young family and became increasingly involved in the underground movement fighting for the rights of her husband and other political prisoners. The book is tribute to Jocelyne Laâbi’s courage and her continuing love for the North African country and its people.