This youthful book takes a fresh look at Parisian life through the eyes of Ahleme, an Algerian immigrant. Written like a series of snapshots this reads, at times, like a short story collection and the brief chapters allow you to dip in and out easily. It's handy to know there's a glossary at the back of the book to help you with the language. Sharp, sassy and full of urban slang.
Foued doesn't like me coming to get him when he's out with his bredrins, he says I'm shaming him because he's a man dem now, you get me. Mostly I avoid doing it, but I warned him about tonight and I've noticed that he's started disrespecting the rules I set at home. He's just a kid after all, he's only fifteen. He has to get up early for school tomorrow, and there's no reason for him to be outside at this time ... I'm surrounded by all these screwball housing blocks that hem in our lives here, our noises and smells. I'm standing alone, in the middle of their wacky architecture, their garish colours, their mad shapes that have cradled our illusions for so long. The days are over when running water and electricity were enough to camouflage the injustices, and the shanty towns are far away. I'm standing proud and thinking about a whole heap of stuff. What's happened in our endz these past few weeks has stirred up the world press, but after a few clashes between the youths and the police, everything's calmed down again. What can the carcasses of burnt-out cars do to change anything, when an army of fanatics is trying to silence us?
The only legitimate curfew is the one I'm imposing this evening, as a non-French citizen, on my fifteen-year-old little brother.