University of Melbourne
The theme of exile is clearly present in the lives of beurs and in the writings produced in the 80s and 90s. Although many were born in France, the writings are often imbued with a deep sense of loss of roots, as well as a strong sense of absence or lack of identity, due in part to their inability to communicate with parents who have failed to transmit their cultural heritage to their children, and also to their partial acculturation through schooling in the host country. Michel Laronde uses the term "une identité en creux" to describe this phenomenon.
The three writers to be studied here have all highlighted the tensions created by the cultural conflict arising from their situation as Maghrebis living in France (or Belgium, as is the case for Leila Houari). Their works are driven by a desire to unveil these tensions for a French readership, but more importantly, to reveal to themselves their own identity.
Beur writers' search for personal identity and space has been widely studied. In this article I explore this theme further, examining the evolution and shifts in perspective and emphasis in the works of three writers, Azouz Begag, Leila Houari and Ahmed Kalouaz and the way in which the writing process has enabled each to arrive at a clearer sense of identity. I show how each author, although dealing with similar preoccupations, follows a different path to self-discovery. In order to trace this journey to self-understanding, it is therefore necessary to examine the works chronologically.
Azouz Begag has written a number of works including two symbolical tales, l'Ilêt-aux-vents, (1992) and Les Chiens aussi, (1994), as well as a number of children's books. This article focuses on his semi- autobiographical works, Le Gone du Chaâba, (1986), Béni ou le paradis privé, (1989), Quand on est mort, c'est pour toute la vie, (1994) and Zenzela, (1997), showing the evolution of his narrator, who, to a large extent, can be assimilated with the author, as I explain later.
Leila Houari's works contain the extra dimension of a woman's perspective. This is explored in her first work, Zeida de nulle part, (1985), where her quest for a unified identity involves a re-discovery of her cultural roots, and is developed further in her book of short stories, Quand tu verras la mer, (1988).
Ahmed Kalouaz's trajectory follows the opposite path to that of the other two authors who move from the semi-autobiographical to wider concerns. Kalouaz's first works give a voice to the voiceless, the forgotten marginalised people, whether women, as in L'encre d'un fait divers, (1984), or immigrants, as in Point kilométrique 190, (1986). He moves from these collective concerns to a more personal focus in his semi-autobiographical novels, Leçons d'absence, (1992) and de Barcelone au silence, (1994).
Most beur writers have a common background of an impoverished childhood in the cités on the periphery of the big cities, and deal with similar themes arising from their situation as children of North African immigrants growing up in France. My article highlights, not the similarities, but the differences between these three writers and how each has, through the writing process, found a way of coping with loss and absence.
While the distinction between narrator and author must necessarily be made (Hargreaves has studied the extent to which the writings of the 80s are autobiographical,) it can be assumed that the texts to be studied here draw heavily on the lives of the authors. Begag's early novels are close to Lejeune's definition of a "roman autobiographique" in that there are ressemblances rather than identité between author and narrator. His narrator's trajectory resembles closely that of the author. Yet the writer's work of invention, reconstruction and compression of events, coupled with the theatricality and humour clearly mark it as a novel. Similarly, Houari's narrators, young Maghrebi women living in Brussels, resemble the author herself. However, the fragmentary nature of the writing reveals not only the difficulty of transcribing certain experiences, but also indicates her desire to move away from the linear autobiographical narrative to recreate the fragmentary consciousness of her narrators. It is less problematic to equate the narrator of Kalouaz's later works with the author since the texts are written in the first person and clearly allude to events in the author's life, notably the death of his sister which triggered the later works.
In this article I shall examine the semi-autobiographical works by Azouz Begag first; they clearly parallel his discovery and revelation of his identity as a Frenchman of Maghrebi origin. Begag's works should be set in the context of the political climate in France which changed significantly between the 80s and the 90s. The optimism generated by the "Marche pour l'égalité et contre le racisme" gave way to frustration and pessimism at the end of the 90s as no collective solutions were offered to the Beurs. Azouz Begag's writings mirror the evolution of the climate in France, moving from the optimism of Le gone to the despondency of Quand on est mort.... His use of humour in his first works to convey the experience of the young boy trying to find a place for himself gives way, in the much later works, to a deeply pessimistic, indeed fatalistic, view in the later works. Begag's quest is to situate himself in relation to his French and his Algerian sources, to find his place in society. This can be contrasted with Houari's work, examined next, which is a quest to achieve a unified identity through exploration of memory and cultural roots. The study of Ahmed Kalouaz's later works shows the author's shift in preoccupation. As mentioned earlier, only in his third work does he come to a more clearly autobiographical work, written in the first person and drawing on events from his own life.
In Begag's first work he recovers, through memory, the lost paradise that was the "chaâba", a place in which the village life of Algeria was recreated by immigrants to France. The shanty-towns have all been demolished now, yet in the minds of those who lived there, despite the hardship of conditions, they were places of conviviality and community. When the narrator's family leave this place, it is with a sense of loss, of destruction of their community as they move to the isolation of an apartment.
The questions that are raised in these first works, those of separation from or attachment to the community of origin pervade all of Begag's work.
Begag's first two works, Le Gone du Chaâba, (1986) and Béni ou le paradis privé, (1989) plunge into the past, recreating in a theatrical, humoristic manner the cultural conflicts experienced by the child as he encounters French society through school. School is the bridge between the cultures, and it is the site of the boy's attempts to find a place for himself. Thus, the young boy will take on a number of roles, depending on the occasion. Constantly called on to define himself, "Tu es Arabe ou Juif?", unsure of himself, he will assume the identity which will allow him to survive that particular moment. He pretends to be Jewish in order to be accepted by his classmates. However, this action, which amounts to betrayal in the eyes of his compatriots (and in his own) leaves him with a strong feeling of guilt. It is these notions of betrayal and guilt which will pursue the narrator and dominate all of his actions in the third autobiographical novel, Quand on est mort, c'est pour toute la vie, (1994) as recounted by a hardened adult narrator. In this work the good-natured naivety of the child narrator is lost; the adult narrator is consumed by bitterness and guilt. Significantly, the narrator's name is Amar, which reminds us of Abboué in Béni who "en Amar de la mobylette," ("en a marre" is sick of the moped). Indeed, the tone here is one of saturation and lassitude. No longer is there the light-heartedness of Le Gone and Béni; instead, the narrator, whose brother has been assassinated by a taxi-driver, feels hatred now. He is judged and rejected, not only by the host society, by people with, "des restes de guerre d'Algérie dans les yeux", but also by his father who continues to judge him harshly with "un silence de tribunal" for "betraying his origins". At every turn Amar feels forced to justify his actions. His visit to Algeria only exacerbates these feelings of guilt. His reaction to the filth that he finds in Algeria is one of disgust, but he is immediately disgusted by himself:
Throughout his trip to Algeria the narrator is plagued by guilt to the point that he hallucinates, imagining that everyone is condemning him for writing at the expense of his fellow Algerians, of siding with the French against the Algerians : "Tu nous fais honte! Tu lèches le cul des Français avec des mots. T'es un HARKI de la plume! (94)". The trip to Algeria has left Amar totally disillusioned. He had wanted to find a beautiful country, but in fact he finds only poverty, filth, corruption and a culture of suspicion pervading everything. Now the feeling of estrangement from Algeria is complete and he realises upon arrival in France that he has returned home.
Paradoxically, Begag's fourth semi-autobiographical novel, Zenzela, (1997), is the most Algerian in content and perspective of all of his novels and yet, it is the work in which the narrator finally makes the break with Algeria and affirms his attachment to France. The presence of Algeria is constantly felt, not only in the sense that we are physically transported to the scene of past and present earthquakes, but also in the perspective of the narrator who, like the "marabout", is endowed with special gifts of clairvoyance. He has a premonitory dream of the earthquake in El Asnam. (Zenzela is the name given in the title to the earthquake; it is in fact the name of the legendary ogress who visits, causing the earth to shake.) The earthquake is a metaphor, symbolising the shaking up of Algerian society. Its subversive nature becomes apparent when the people use it as a pretext to come out onto the streets and express their opinions. Beneath this lies the narrator's desire to wipe everything out and start again as we saw in Quand on est mort. The difference here is that the narrator's guilt has disappeared.
The "zenzela" has caused a "shake-up" of Algerian society and awakened the people from their complacency. In addition it has opened up new possibilities for the narrator who now finds the courage to approach the French girl, Anna, to ask her for a donation to this cause. The earthquake has also caused the collapse of the family house in Sétif that his parents had been building with their savings from France and which had been crumbling for years. In the final pages of the novel, news arrives of the total collapse of the house: manifestly, this represents the collapse of the parents' dream of returning to Algeria. For Farid, it signals freedom from what has been holding him back, preventing him from integrating into French society. Freed from his past, he runs towards his future, contained for him in the person of Anna. However, he finds Anna in the arms of someone else. The novel finishes with the lines, "à quoi ça sert tout ça?"
Begag's evolution becomes apparent through this chronological reading of his works. In Zenzela the narrator no longer faces the difficult choices confronting the younger child. He has come to terms with his identity and his choices are clearly in favour of the society in which he lives, here represented by Anna. However, his desire to integrate into French society is not matched by a willingness on the part of this society to accept him. This exclusion by French society should be put in the context which prevails in France. Despite the strong desire by most Beurs to integrate into French society, this integration is denied them by the exclusionary reaction of the French community at large.
Begag, through writing, has divested himself of the guilt that was consuming him in his attempts to move into French society. Yet, as the final words of this novel show, his perspective remains Oriental in the sense that his narrator cannot escape his "mektoub", his fate. All attempts to escape one's life are doomed to failure, hence the resignation expressed in the final words. As mentioned earlier, this is compounded by the exclusionary climate in France. Begag has attempted to influence his "mektoub" through writing. The power of the written word has indeed allowed him to step out of his conditions of poverty and exclusion, to change the course of his fate. Through writing he has discovered not only his personal identity as a Frenchman of Maghrebi origin, but also as a writer.
Azouz Begag is the Beur writer whose writing clearly expresses a desire for integration and acceptance in French society. This is thwarted initially by his inner conflicts and the disapproval of his parents and peers, and then by French society, embodied by French women, France in Béni, and Anna in Zenzela.
Begag's clear definition of himself as a Frenchman of Maghrebi origin and his strong desire to integrate into French society can be contrasted with Houari's ambivalence. Indeed the ambiguities expressed in her Zeida de nulle part, (1985), are further explored in Quand tu verras la mer (1988), albeit in a more elliptical and literary form. However the contrast is short-lived when one considers that Begag arrives at this position in the 90s and that Houari's works were both published in the 80s; this at a time when the quest for cultural identity was at the forefront of most Beur writing, Begag's included. Nevertheless, Houari's works differ radically from those of Begag. Zeida, Houari's narrator seeks to find acceptance in her culture of origin rather than in the host country and clings to her nostalgic vision of Morocco, deluding herself about the reality she finds there. Her quest for a unified identity is further complicated by questions of gender and woman's place in the traditional society. The narrator of Zeida de nulle part, (1985), is a young woman who has fled the family home and yet who feels the hollowness and emptiness of her situation as a child of Moroccan parents living in France. Her quest for plenitude will take her back to her mother's side where she will try to nourish herself through listening to tales of her mother's past and also to Morocco, where she attempts to integrate into the simple life of the village community. Houari's narrator, Zeida, has created a mythical picture of a golden past in North Africa. However, she eventually finds that despite her strong desire to make links with her original culture she cannot be accepted into it. This is a reversal of the situation of Azouz Begag's narrators who are driven by a desire to be accepted into French society. Seeking to find acceptance in her original culture, Zeida discovers that it is as a woman who has grown up in Europe that she cannot be accepted. She takes pleasure in carrying out the repetitive, simple, age-old gestures of the past, but, despite her desire to fuse with the collective identity, her individual identity seeks too often to assert itself (for example, when she is attracted to a young man from the village). Zeida is obliged to recognise that her actions have been motivated by an idealised view of her origins and that, in reality, she must live in Europe.
It is the writing process that has brought the author, not only to a clearer understanding of her cultural identity, but also of her capacities as a writer. Her narrative begins in an uncertain, fragmentary, hesitant manner and an oscillation from one form to another. In the second part of Zeida de nulle part, the narrative settles into a more stable account as her narrator comes to an understanding of her place and identity. Thus, the first part reflects the unsettled, searching nature of the girl in Brussels, the second, a calmer tone as she rediscovers her past. Through her writing Leila Houari has reached a more quiescent situation: at the end of the work her narrator "... souriait mais ne rêvait plus"(84)
Marc Gontard has described the work as unable to "se constituer en récit". On the contrary however, it could be seen as Houari's experimentation with a different style, a deliberate use of fragments and changing viewpoints, a style that could be qualified as "écriture féminine" such as that presented by Irma Garcia. Houari develops this elliptical style in her second work, Quand tu verras la mer, (1988), a collection of short stories in which she brings together themes of meetings between people from the two cultures. She also attempts to rehabilitate her original culture, through evocation of the "hammam" or through the telling of a tale through a "conteuse".
The four short stories are introduced by a long, fragmented monologue. They are unified by recurrent themes, the metaphors of "le regard" and the sea, the two elements of the title. Thus each story, through this internal intertextuality, enriches the others, contributing to the literary quality as a whole. Each of the stories is told through a different type of narration. Leila Houari stated in an interview she gave to Hargreaves: "C'est comme un carrefour. C'est chaque fois une nouvelle perspective, une nouvelle écriture". As the narrator of the opening sequence wanders through the streets of Brussels, nostalgic images of a young girl in a narrow street flow to her. These passages are highly reminiscent of the girl in the streets of of Fes in Zeida de nulle part. Houari's use of internal intertextuality, in addition to the mythologising of territory, contribute to the dream-like evocation of a lost paradise in Morocco. The narrator, to escape the depressing reality of petty racism that she encounters in Brussels, seeks consolation in stories. This brings to mind Scheharazade and the power of stories as a way of warding off, if not death, at least evil thoughts. It evokes the Oriental tradition of story-telling with its important function of maintaining collective memory (e.g., the inclusion of a "conte" in the third story, "Rencontre"). The narrator recognises the healing power of stories, both from the point of view of the person telling and of the person receiving the story.
The narrators of the stories are each different from the narrator of the opening sequence. The author is thus able to present different viewpoints. In each (except the fourth which is set in Morocco, essentially in a hammam), one finds the sea as a metaphor for happiness, a point which is revealed clearly in the third story, "Rencontre". The meeting is that between a young Arab girl and an older European man. Water, here the bath, triggers emotional ties with the past for the girl. She recounts the mythological tale, told to her by an old Moroccan woman, which is in fact a poetic evocation of emigration. The family of the tale, forced by an ogress to leave the mountain, prays to be allowed to stay. A Sphinx-like figure appears, promising that a part of her, her heart, will be allowed to stay. She will thus be "morcelée", in pieces. The "génie" grants a special favour: "Ton bonheur reviendra chaque fois que tu verras la mer" (83).
The quest to see the sea, which recurs through the book, is thus a desire for wholeness and happiness. The protagonist in this story oscillates between a desire to fuse with the collectivity, through the age-old, typically female activity of evoking a mythical Oriental tale through story-telling, and a quest for personal happiness. When asked by the older man: "Serais-tu infidèle à ta tribu?", she replies: "je suis nomade, nomade de la vie" (98). This narrator, unlike Begag's, does not belong anywhere, nor does she seek to. Her constant movements are like those of the narrators of Kalouaz's later works to be examined next.
In Houari's fourth story blue eyes are a dominant element, signifying freedom and happiness. Blue eyes are a recurring theme too in the works of Ahmed Kalouaz: they represent, in addition, the European and the choice to step from the past to the present (and the future) in Europe. Yet, even as Houari's narrator smilingly greets her blue-eyed partner at the end of the story, representing her choice to live with a European, ambiguities remain as she simultaneously re-visits her memories of the shining bodies of women in the hammam.The hammam is a place of female bonding, a place in which the female voice, generally repressed can express itself freely. In Houari's works there is a constant tension between collective female bonding and individual emancipation. Her narrative strategies clearly express this ambiguity: her desire to meld with with the collective identity, evoked through the use of Oriental tales and important icons such as the hamman, her constant search for identity and personal happiness through her open-ended, elliptical style.
Ahmed Kalouaz, the third author to be examined here, is unique in beur writing in that he, unlike most other beurs came to autobiographical writing relatively late; that is after the publication of two works in which he raises themes of immigration and identity. This he does through multiple voices, a female narrator, in L'Encre d'un fait divers, (1984) and several narrators in Point kilométrique 190 (1986). He reflects on the writing process in L'Encre d'un fait divers and on the difficulty of rendering reality. His writing is violent, mirroring the violence done to the female narrator who has been imprisoned after killing her violent husband. The experimentation with form and viewpoints is extended in Point kilométrique 190 in which the narrator attempts to give a voice to those who remain voiceless in the face of injustice.
Six years separate the publication of Point kilométrique 190 and Leçons d'absence, (1992). The latter and Kalouaz's fourth work, de Barcelone au silence, (1994), could be read together. They highlight the same themes which appear in their titles: absence and silence. Leçons d'absence has been reworked for a more recent publication, Absentes, (1999). That Ahmed Kalouaz has come to some sort of reappraisal of his identity can be perceived through the name he chooses to sign his work. The first work, L'Encre d'un fait divers is signed Ahmed K., the second, third and fourth, Ahmed Kalouaz, and the most recent simply Kalouaz. It is undoubtedly significant that this author has moved from concealing his patronymic in his first publication to embracing it fully, even deleting the individuating first name in the final work. This confirms even more emphatically the journey he has made through writing: not only has he taken the opposite path from that of most beur writers who have moved from the semi-autobiographical to experimentation of other forms, but he appears to wish to embrace fully his links with his family and his origins through this choice of signature. In fact the later works are motivated by a desire to heal the wound of silence and absence that exists, not only between the generations, but also between brother and sister. The death of his sister is the trigger for the narrator of Leçons d'absence to retrace his childhood years:
Pour moi, elle (l'enfance) recommence par la mort de ma soeur, comme un retour obligé sur les années filées avant qu'il ne soit trop tard.
The same urgency that gripped the earlier works is present here. Time is passing and these memories must be fixed in writing before they are completely obliterated. The narrator is struggling with opposing drives within himself: the pull of the present, his love affairs, represented by "les yeux bleus", a metaphor for freedom, and the need to retrieve his past, represented by "les yeux marron", the eyes of his dead sister, symbolising his past and his origins. At the centre of these works is the silent figure of the father and then of the mother. This silence and lack of communication, begun during childhood, has become a mode of being for the adults:
En vieillissant, ce qu'il me restait de mots à leur dire, s'est envolé définitivement. De l'enfance, nous sommes passés au silence. Leçons d'absence (107)
leur monde et ce qui était devenu le mien s'affrontaient de la façon la plus violente qui soit. L'absence et ce silence. Leçons d'absence (108)
Kalouaz's later writings are driven by the need to give a voice to his father and destroy the silence veiling his life. Blanchot has pointed out that silence, "passe par le cri", it is a "cri sans voix". In Kalouaz's work an intense feeling of a repressed scream underlies the father's silence. As the narrator states, "On prend garde aux cris, mais jamais aux silences" (104). Thus, as in earlier works, Kalouaz's preoccupation is to give a voice to the voiceless. It is also to retrieve, through writing, a part of the childhood of which he feels he has been cheated, "cette foutue enfance dont j'ai l'impression d'avoir été défait.." His narrator is driven by the fear of forgetting his past, but also of being silenced:
J'ai peur de devenir muet,
crainte d'oublier les yeux noisette
L'oubli s'installe. (72)
The three writers examined here are all writing from a position of loss or absence; all are disconnected from their roots. In this sense they could be said to be writing in exile. All have written themselves out of their original situation, retrieving through their writing a sense of identity. However, a clear contrast could be made between Begag's works and those of Houari and Kalouaz. Begag is the only one of the three to have been born in France; consequently he dwells less on a quest for plenitude through exploration of his past. While his evocation of the "chaâba" undoubtedly reveals a degree of nostalgia for a lost sense of community, it is also driven by a desire to reveal this reality to French readers. As the article has shown, Begag's real preoccupation is that of his place in French society and his increasingly bitter realisation of the difficulty of asserting this place.This, as mentioned earlier, can be a explained by the lack of a political solution offered to the Beurs in the 90s and a refusal by the majority population to accept Beurs totally as French citizens.
Kalouaz's trajectory could also be seen as a reflection of the change in the political climate in France. Written in the 80s at a time of increased visibility of the Beurs, his early works, especially Point kilométrique, inspired by a "fait divers" in which drunken legionnaires threw an Algerian from a moving train, raise the collective issues of racism and exclusion. That he moves from collective concerns to a quest for personal rehabilitation through connection with his past and his family is perhaps indicative of the context in France. As no collective solutions have been offered for the situation of the Beurs, individual strategies must be found.
This is also the path taken by Houari, whose search for a more complete sense of identity leads her to an exploration of her country and culture of origin. Her writings attempt to integrate aspects of her Moroccan culture such that even her sophisticated Westernised narrator, at the end of Quand tu verras, will not forget important aspects of her Moroccan identity.
A great fear expressed by Beur writers is that no trace will be left of their origins. Beur writings in general could be said to fill a gap: presenting a hitherto ignored reality on the historical stage, thus rehabilitating a marginalised, devalued culture. All these writers attempt to bond with the past. Thus Begag recreates the lost "chaâba", Houari integrates her Moroccan heritage into her writing and Kalouaz expresses the urgent need to fix the past in writing lest it be obliterated completely. Importantly however, these writers, while bridging the gap with the past through writing of the collective experience, create a personal space for themselves. Each of the writers studied here has asserted his/her individuality and originality. Through the writing process each has followed a different path to self-discovery and arrived at the expression of a distinctly personal voice.
 Michel Laronde. Autour du roman beur. Paris: l'Harmattan, 1993.
 see especially Alec G.Hargreaves, in his book Voices from the North African Community in France. Oxford: Berg, 1991, as well as his numerous articles. Also a number of articles by Mireille Rosello, in particular "The Beur Nation: Towards a theory of Departenance" in Research in African Literatures, 24-3 Bloomington, 1993, Fall, and articles by, amongst others, Susan Ireland "Displacement and Identity in the Beur Novel" in Romance Languages IX, 1998, pp.72-78; Martine Delvaux, "L'Ironie du sort: le tiers espace de la littérature beure" in The French Review, vol.68, no.4, March 1995; and Hélène Jaccomard "French Against French: the Uneasy Incorporation of Beurs into French Society" in Mots Pluriels. vol.1, no.2. Feb. 1997.
 Houari moves from her autobiographical novel to short stories. Begag, after two autobiographical novels, moves to the symbolical in L'ilêt-aux-vents. (1992) and Les Chiens aussi. (1995).
 Alec G. Hargreaves. op.cit..
 Phillippe Lejeune. Le pacte autobiographique. Paris: Seuil, 1975.
 The work of recreation in Begag's writings becomes clear when they are contrasted with social documents such as that by Brahim Benaicha, Vivre au paradis: de l'oasis au bidonville. Desclée de Brouwer, 1992.
 Cf. Hargreaves, op.cit..
 Alec G. Hargreaves in his article, "Violent changes: the Beurs and the banlieues"in Interface; Black, Blanc, Beur: Youth Language and Identity in France. (ed.) Farid Aitsiselmi, no. 5 summer, 2000, notes this shift, also clearly evident in the allegorical tale, Les Chiens aussi. (1995).
 Hargreaves, in the article cited above, states that the exclusion of Beurs is due not so much to cultural differences as to "exclusionary reflexes by the majority population itself", p.12.
 The writer Mounsi, writing in the 90s, also changes his fate through writing. (For a complete analysis of Mounsi's discovery of self through remembrance of a lost paradise, see Kathryn Lay-Chenchabi and Bernadette Dejean " Mounsi: from oblivion to remembrance of the self through writing" in French Cultural Studies. vol.11, part 2, no.32. June 2000, pp.249-269).
 Women are held to contain within them the essence and soul of a
culture. Penetrating a culture is often achieved through seduction of the
women. Winifred Woodhull, in her chapter "Recasting the colonial gaze" in
Transfigurations of the Maghreb. Minnesota University Press, 1993,
speaks of the feminisation of colonial Algeria in the "imaginaire" of French
In the North African culture, women are protected from the outside through confinement to the home. Protecting young girls of immigrant families from the outside is, in addition, a way of preserving the culture in a hostile environment. Ferrudja Kessas Beur's story. (1990); and Soraya Nini Ils disent que je suis une beurette. (1993) unveil the conditions of the "beurette" to the French reader.
 Tassadit Imache in her autobigraphical novel Une fille sans histoire. (1989) has used the metaphor of "histoire" to represent the richness of culture transmitted from one generation to the next
 Le moi étrange. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1993.
 Promenade femmelière. Paris: des femmes 1991. Garcia qualifies "écriture féminine" as "hésitante", "ouverte". It is "un jeu de trous, de creux, de blancs, de lignes de fuites...". p.173. Houari's elliptical style could certainly be described in these terms.
 Voices from the North African community in France. Paris: Berg, 1991, p.104.
 Maurice Blanchot. l'Ecriture du désastre. Paris: Gallimard, 1980, p.86.
Begag, Azouz. le Gone du Chaâba. Paris: Seuil, 1986
---. Béni ou le paradis privé. Paris: Seuil, 1989
---. L'Ilêt-aux-vents. Paris: Seuil, 1992
---. Quand on est mort, c'est pour toute la vie. Paris: Gallimard,1994
---. Les Chiens aussi. Paris: Seuil, 1995
---. Zenzela. Paris: Seuil,1997
Blanchot, Maurice. L'Ecriture du désastre. Paris: Gallimard, 1980
Delvaux, Martine. "L'ironie du sort: le tiers espace de la littérature beure" in The French Review. March, 1995 vol.68, no.4, pp.681-693.
Garcia, Irma. Promenade femmelière. Paris: des femmes, 1991
Gontard, Marc. Le moi étrange. Paris, L'Harmattan, 1993
Hargreaves, Alec. Voices from the North African Community in France. Oxford: Berg, 1991
---. "Violent changes: the Beurs and the banlieue" in Interface. University of Bradford, no. 5, Summer 2000, pp.11-15.
Houari, Leila. Zeida de nulle part. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1985
---. Quand tu verras la mer. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1988
Imache, Tassadit. Une fille sans histoire. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1989
Ireland, Susan. "Displacement and Identity in the Beur Novel" in Romance languages Annual IX, 1998, pp.72-78
Jaccomard, Hélène. "French against French: the Uneasy Incorporation of Beurs into French Society " in Mots Pluriels. vol.1. no.2 Feb. 1997
Kalouaz, Ahmed. L'Encre d'un fait divers. Paris: l'Arcantère, 1984
---. Point kilométrique 190. Paris: l'Harmattan, 1986
---. Leçons d'absence. Paris: Noel Blandin, 1992
---. de Barcelone au silence. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1994
---. Absentes. Rodez: Rouergue, 1999
Laronde, Michel. Autour du roman beur. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1993
Lay-Chenchabi, Kathryn and Bernadette Dejean. "Mounsi: from oblivion to remembrance of the self through writing" in French Cultural Studies vol.11, part 2. no.32, June 200o, pp.249-269
Lejeune, Phillippe. Le pacte autobiographique. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1975
Rosello, Mireille. "The Beur Nation: Towards a theory of Departenance" in Research in African Literatures 1993, no 24:3, pp.18-24
Woodhull, Winifred. Transfigurations of the Maghreb. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1993
Kathryn Lay-Chenchabi is a PhD student and language teacher in the Department of French and Italian Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research examines the evolution of beur writings from the 1980s to the 1990s. She has recently published an article on the beur writer Mounsi (co-authored with Bernadette Dejean de la Batie) " Mounsi: from oblivion to remembrance of the self through writing" in French Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Part 2, Number 32, June 2000, pp.249-268.