The Pleasure Marriage

Trade Paper – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-4359-3
Publication Date
June 2021
Page Count
160 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Pleasure Marriage

A Novel
Tahar Ben Jelloun; Translated from the French by Rita S. Nezami

In The Pleasure Marriage, Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the epic story of a romance that explores desire and the intolerance for interracial marriage in Moroccan society. Amir is a prosperous merchant based in Fez, where he has a wife and four children. On one of his annual business trips to Senegal, he enters into a “pleasure marriage”—a temporary union permitted by Islamic law—with the alluring Nabou. Overcome by her passion and sensuality, he falls in love, sparking three generations scarred by racism, immigration, and deportation.
Nabou returns to Fez as Amir’s second wife, weathering the jealous cruelty of Lalla Fatma, his first partner. Isolated within her new home, Nabou gives birth to twin sons, one black and one white, who come of age on the opposite sides of racial, social, and political chasms, and who chart vastly different courses. The Pleasure Marriage showcases Ben Jelloun’s mastery of metaphor and lyrical narrative as he continues to take us into the worlds of Moroccan culture through his exquisite language and literary genius.

About the Author

TAHAR BEN JELLOUN is an acclaimed Moroccan-born French novelist, poet, essayist, and intellectual. As a young man, Ben Jelloun spent time in a Moroccan army camp for taking part in a student demonstration. He sought exile in Paris in 1971 and has since become one of France’s most celebrated authors, awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1987 for The Sacred Night and the International Impac Dublin Literary Award in 2004 for This Blinding Absence of Light.
teaches in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University, where her teaching and research interests include the rhetorics of global issues, creative nonfiction, visual rhetoric, and postcolonial Anglophone and Francophone literatures. Northwestern University Press published her translation of Ben Jelloun’s By Fire: Writings on the Arab Spring in 2016.

“A novel that confronts the stigma of racism and the taboo topic of racial discrimination in modern Moroccan society. This audacious and provocative story explores the love and affection, as well as the agony and tragic suffering that imbue the intertwined lives of three generations descending from a mixed marriage between Amir, a rich trader from the imperial city of Fez, and Nabou, a woman from Senegal.” —Ahmed Idrissi Alami, author of Mutual Othering: Islam, Modernity, and the Politics of Cross-Cultural Encounters in Pre-Colonial Moroccan and European Travel Writing