A Swiss woman, Anna, walks the paths of a cemetery in present-day Algiers. She is searching for two names, those of her children, murdered more than 40 years previously by the FLN, the organization that fought for Algerian independence from the French in the early 1960s and whose leaders were convinced that the children's father, Nassreddine, was a traitor to their cause.
Anna has returned to an Algeria rife with terrorism and the excesses of fundamentalism. "The devil has entered our country, and his footprints are everywhere," her friend Majid tells her as she sets out, undaunted, disguised in Muslim dress, on a perilous quest to find out whether the man she once loved is still alive. She is guided through the harsh and beautiful landscape by Jallal, a boy who sells peanuts in the Place des Martyrs. Captured by the militant "forces of Allah", the woman and boy must witness and endure all manner of brutality and degradation before Anna's and Nassreddine's destinies can finally converge.
Anouar Benmalek's courageous novel confronts the tragedy of Algeria, its immediate past and present, as no other writer has done since Albert Camus, and in the process he tells a love story of immense tenderness.
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