Review of Le Premier amour est toujours le dernier

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Author: Nada Elia
Editor: Janet Witalec
Date: 2004
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Book review; Critical essay
Length: 614 words

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[(review date autumn 1995) In the following review, Elia questions Ben Jelloun's ambivalent portrayal of sexism in his short story collection Le Premier amour est toujours le dernier.]

Winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, the Moroccan poet, novelist, and short-story writer Tahar Ben Jelloun differs from his francophone Maghrebian contemporaries in that his work does not highlight colonial oppression but focuses instead on the struggle within his own society, with special emphasis on love and tormented male-female relationships. His latest collection of short stories, Le Premier amour est toujours le dernier, expounds on this dual theme.

The collection features twenty-one short stories, some published as early as 1973 and 1976. I can only applaud Ben Jelloun's persistence in exposing women's oppression and am relieved that he does not suggest Arabs are the only culprits: Spaniards and Italians are equally guilty, as illustrated in the stories "Le mirage" and "Monsieur Vito s'aime." Still, it...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100053113