A Country for Dying
Seven Stories Press
Paris, Summer 2010.
Zahira is 40 years old, Moroccan, a prostitute, traumatized by her father’s suicide decades prior, and in love with a man who no longer loves her.
Zannouba, Zahira’s friend and protege, formerly known as Aziz, prepares for gender confirmation surgery and reflects on the reoccuring trauma of loss, including the loss of her pre-transition male persona.
Mojtaba is a gay Iranian revolutionary who, having fled to Paris, seeks refuge with Zahira for the month of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, Allal, Zahira’s first love back in Morocco, travels to Paris to find Zahira.
Through swirling, perpendicular narratives, A Country for Dying follows the inner lives of emigrants as they contend with the space between their dreams and their realities, a schism of a postcolonial world where, as Taïa writes, “So many people find themselves in the same situation. It is our destiny: To pay with our bodies for other people’s future.”
Translated by Emma Ramadan