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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Just Like Tomorrow
by Faiza Guene
Age Range: 14+
On the outskirts of the Parisian suburb of Livry-Gargan, 15-year-old Doria lives on Paradise Estate – a description that couldn’t be further from the truth. Doria’s father – ‘Mr How-Big-Is-My-Beard’, has abandoned his wife and daughter and returned to Morocco to find a younger wife to give him the son he so desperately wants. Doria’s illiterate mother, Yasmina works in an underpaid job at the Formula 1 Motel in Bagnolet. It is an existence living on handouts and credit at the local mini-market –
where the only clothes that Doria’s mum can afford to buy are from the charity shop or bargain basement; visiting Mrs Burlaud, her new psychologist who smells of alcohol or hanging out with spliff-smoking layabout Hamoudi, who recites Rimbaud and “neeky Nabil”, who is clever but has a pizza face (of acne). Doria believes with only these options open to her why would tomorrow be any different?
Doria, a first-generation French girl living in an immigrant north African community in Paris, tells it like it is from her own unique acerbic perspective. With a wry humour she vents her resentful opinions on bigotry, racism, misogyny that she encounters but she also reveals the invaluable communal support and educational benefits that enable Doria and her mother to improve their lives. Faiza Guene’s sassy, streetwise debut novel has been expertly translated from French by Sarah Adams, who provides a useful glossary of Arabic and slang terms at the back of the book.