“Such was the battle that raged between Cousin K and me: good done badly; evil done well.” And such is the twisted logic of good and bad, right and wrong, knitted into this novella by one of the most powerful voices to emerge from North Africa in our time. With his father brutally killed as a traitor during a national liberation war and his older brother an army officer far away, the young narrator lives reclusively with his mother, who scorns him. He turns to his young cousin for affection, only to be mocked and humiliated so deeply that his love becomes hopelessly entangled with hatred.
Fate places a young woman in the narrator’s path when he rescues her from a violent attack, and the reawakening of his confused passions proceeds toward terrible vengeance. In this nameless narrator’s tormented reflections, played out against the backdrop of an indifferent world, Yasmina Khadra plumbs the mysteries of the crippled heart’s desires.
Praise for the French edition:
“Cousin K is a highly polished psychological novel embodying an immense dose of mute violence. With a kind of enraged obstinacy, Yasmina Khadra applies his lapidary style to the exploration of some of the human soul’s muddiest depths. Here as elsewhere in his work, the inner life, as alienated as it might be, never takes leave of worldly realities. Khadra continues to address us in one of the very strongest voices emanating from North Africa today.”—Jean-Claude Lebrun, L’Humanité