A story of corrosive love, loyalty and despotic power at the heart of the Moroccan court.
Sidi is dying
In the last days of this all-powerful tyrant, his faithful court fool takes stock of the decades he has spent in the king's service. For the many years have left certain indelible wounds.
During his service, the fool has been the king's closest counsel, his most trusted companion and adviser, privy to the king's deepest secrets and most intimate thoughts. It is an honoured position for which many other courtiers would pay a hefty price. Something the fool understands only too well, for this closeness has indeed come at a terrible cost.
What price the confidence of a great king? Is it stories, jokes, witty repartee? Or does the debt fall closer to home? Perhaps it must be paid far from the magnificent palaces, feasting and festivities of the royal court. Perhaps it must be paid in the death jails of a formidable prison fortress far out in the desert; a place so feared that few dare to speak its name . . .
A legend, a cruel fantastical dream, and a true feat of literature - Maroc a Livre Ouvert
A beautiful novel, as tender as a gazelle's horn - BibliObs
Mahi Binebine is a Moroccan painter, sculptor and author, born in Marrakesh in 1959. He studied mathematics in Paris and taught the subject for eight years before returning to Morocco in 2002. He is the author of six novels, which have been translated into a dozen languages between them, and his paintings are now part of the permanent collection at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.