Mouloud Mammeri: La Colline Oubliée [The Forgotten Hill]

colline

The latest addition to my website is Mouloud Mammeri‘s La Colline Oubliée [The Forgotten Hill], one of the many Algerian novels sadly not translated into English. This one is about an Algerian village in the period leading up to World War II and during that war. Mokrane is the main character and we follow his life. He gets engaged and then married. He is called up to fight and undergoes training but is sent back home, once the Germans occupy France. As his wife does not get pregnant, his mother is determined that she is sinful and that Mokrane should leave her and marry someone else. By the time he is called up again, as the Allies fight Rommel, he has to all intents abandoned her but when he gets a sad letter from her, during his service, telling him she has moved back to her parents but is now pregnant, he is devastated and the effect on him is catastrophic. Mammeri also gives us an excellent portrait of the village during this period, with changing customs but also, during wartime, many problems, including disease, hunger and social disruption.

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2 Comments

  1. While I wasn’t familiar with this author before your review (thanks for the intro!), his name came up in a footnote a day later in the war journal written by Mouloud Feraoun that I just started. It mentioned this book as one of Mammeri’s best as I recall.

    • tmn

      Thanks for the info. I have a couple of Feraoun books which i hope to get round to sooner or later.

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