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"Khadra brings us deep into the hearts and minds of people living in unspeakable mental anguish."—LATimes"A skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers."—TLS"Like all the great storytellers of history, [Khadra] espouses the contradictions of his characters, who carry in themselves the entirety of the human condition."—Le PointA new masterpiece from the author o"Khadra brings us deep into the hearts and minds of people living in unspeakable mental anguish."—LATimes"A skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers."—TLS"Like all the great storytellers of history, [Khadra] espouses the contradictions of his characters, who carry in themselves the entirety of the human condition."—Le PointA new masterpiece from the author of The Swallows of Kabul.Frankfurt MD Kurt Kraussman is devastated by his wife's suicide. Unable to make sense of what happened, Kurt agrees to join his friend Hans on a humanitarian mission to the Comoros. But, sailing down the Red Sea, their boat is boarded by Somali pirates and the men are taken hostage.The arduous journey to the pirates' desert hideout is only the beginning of Kurt's odyssey. He endures imprisonment and brutality at the hands of captors whose failings are all too human.As the situation deteriorates, it is fellow prisoner, Bruno, a long-time resident in Africa, who shows Kurt another side to the wounded yet defiant continent he loves.A giant of francophone writing, Algerian author Yasmina Khadra takes current events as a starting point to explore opposing views and myths of Africa and the West, ultimately delivering a powerful message of friendship, resilience and redemption.Yasmina Khadra is the pen name of Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian army officer and now director of the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris. In November 2013, he announced his candidacy for the presidency of Algeria....

Title : The African Equation
Author :
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ISBN : 9781908313706
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The African Equation Reviews

  • Mal Warwick
    2019-04-08 20:10

    Here’s a story that could have been worked into a terrific novel in the hands of a writer with a trifle of self-restraint. Unfortunately, Yasmina Khadra, reputedly one of Africa’s greatest writers, displays none of that. Every one of his characters, from a German physician to a passel of Somali or Sudanese pirates, speaks like an Oxford philosophy don — and somehow they all understand one another perfectly without any indication that they could possibly speak any language in common. Khadra’s characters are not people but mouthpieces for his philosophical and political views, which tend to be tedious.The novel’s protagonist, Kurt Krausmann, comes upon the dead body of his beloved wife soon after the tale opens. She clearly committed suicide. (This is not a murder mystery.) The good doctor, a general practitioner in Frankfurt, goes into an emotional tailspin. His best friend, Hans Makkenroth, one of Germany’s wealthiest and best-known industrialists, presses Krausmann to join him on a long ocean voyage on his yacht. Weeks underway, as Krausmann begins to recover his senses, Somali or Sudanese pirates (it’s never clear which) attack the ship in the Gulf of Aden and drag Krausmann and Makkenroth off to the Somali coast. There the group sets out on an overland journey westward for nearly 2,000 miles through Ethiopia and Sudan to the godforsaken reaches of Darfur, meeting violent and tragic circumstances along the way. The journey, while eventful, serves primarily as a setting for the principal characters — two of the pirates as well as Krausmann and Makkenroth — to pontificate about the meaning of life and about Africa and its relation to the West. While their sentiments are well expressed — remember, I compared these characters to Oxford philosophy dons — they strike me as dated and overwrought.Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s a sample: “It is true that we are insignificant. But in this perfect body which age breaks down as the seasons pass and which the smallest germ can lay low, there is a magical territory where it is possible for us to take our lives back. It is in this hidden place that our true strength lies; in other words, our faith in what we believe to be good for us . . .” and that’s just the beginning of the soliloquy. Have you EVER heard anyone actually say anything like that?By the way, Yasmina Khadra is not a woman as his pen name suggests but a former Algerian army officer named Mohammed Moulessehoul who adopted his wife’s name to avoid military censorship.Africa has made worthy contributions to world literature through the work of an abundance of world-class writers: Chinua Achebe, Nadine Gordimer, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, Wole Soyinka, NoViolet Bulawayo, and Alan Paton, among many others. Yasmina Khadra doesn’t measure up to them.

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-04-06 03:45

    Yasmina Khadra é um poeta, um filósofo. Tem o Dom de transformar simples palavras em pura magia, que me revolvem as emoções, e me levam a questionar o verdadeiro sentido da vida. "A vida é uma sucessão de ambiguidades e de bravatas. Aprendemos todos os dias, e todos os dias apagamos a ardósia para um novo exercício. Na realidade, não há uma verdade irrefutável, só há certezas. Quando uma se revela infundada, forjamos outra e aferrolhamos-nos nela contra ventos e marés. A sobrevivência é um náufrago cuja salvação repousa na obstinação e não na providência."Numa escrita poética e sublime - onde até o aterrar de um avião nos comove - Khadra cria uma obra grandiosa, na qual vivem personagens verdadeiramente inesquecíveis.Kurt Krausmann é vitima de uma tragédia familiar que não compreende, e numa fuga à dor empreende uma viagem com um amigo. São raptados por piratas e levados para o Darfur, onde reina a bestialidade humana. Joma - a besta, o poeta…uma personagem inesquecível pela sua crueldade, mas também pela sua sensibilidade e humanidade. Incoerente? Não! "Quando um mosquito se deixa apanhar numa teia, não pode querer mal à aranha.".Hans - o homem rico mas generoso, fascinado por horizontes longínquos e que percorre mundo para ajudar os povos mais miseráveis.Bruno - o francês, africano no coração, que mesmo no limite do desespero não deixa morrer a alegria de viver e a fé no ser humano.Jessica - o símbolo da “evolução" do homem, da nossa sociedade, em que à mais leve contrariedade esquecemos o mais importante de tudo: a benção que é a nossa própria vida…Os voluntários da Cruz Vermelha - os heróis, se nesta vida os houver…- a generosidade, a paixão daqueles cujos sonhos e ambições são a dedicação aos que nada têm…África, os Africanos - a personagem principal. "Estas pessoas não possuem nada; chegaram ao fim, os seus amanhãs assemelham-se a campos de minas (…) Sabem que o que sofreram na véspera os espera a pé firme no dia seguinte, (…) que onde os homens exercem sevícias os deuses se abstêm de intervir; sabem tantas coisas e agem como se não fosse nada, recusando o facto consumado e procurando, para além do Bem e do Mal, uma ilusão à qual se apeguem, pouco importando se é feita de cinzas ou de fumo."De uma forma generosa, Khadra oferece-nos a esperança de que há sempre um amanhã e cada dia é um milagre... Porque estás triste? Não devias. Só os mortos estão tristes porque não podem levantar-se…"No final fiquei alegre por me libertar de tanta tristeza, e triste por me despedir de tanta beleza…Não me lembro de um só livro me ensinar tanto…"Vive cada manhã como se fosse a primeiraE deixa ao passado os remorsos e as más acções,Vive cada noite como se fosse a últimaPorque ninguém sabe de que será feito o amanhã."

  • Mandy
    2019-04-08 23:04

    Kurt Krausmann, devastated by a recent bereavement, is persuaded to join his friend Hans Makkeroth on a humanitarian mission to Africa. En route their boat is hijacked and they are taken hostage. Their captivity in harsh, inhumane conditions, plus the meeting with a fellow hostage Bruno, who staunchly continues to defend his aggressors’ behaviour in the context of African colonialism allows the author to explore many important issues, but unfortunately he really doesn’t manage to do so very effectively at all. My main problem with this book is the voices. Everyone speaks in eloquent sentences, even the African thugs. Now it may be, of course, that I am wrong and that some thugs are eloquent and articulate, but it seems unlikely. Khadra does indeed make one of them a poet but his actions belie any sense of humanity and education that being a poet usually implies. So the characters merely mouth Khadra’s own ideas and thoughts presumably in Khadra’s own voice and simply do not reflect the reality on the ground. And then Khadra’s own language is so high-flown and clichéd I could hardly bear to read it. Land of Morpheus, profile of a goddess, eyes shining like jewels or like “two rubies wrapped in velvet”, and even comparisons that don’t make sense – “his bulging, joyful eyes rolled like white-hot marbles”. And then there are the lists – every time a character walks into a room Khadra feels impelled to list all the contents…..”hard-cover encyclopaedias, numbered files in chronological order” and so on. What does that add to the narrative? Except superfluous words. There’s a good story lurking behind the bad style, and with some ruthless editing that story could have emerged. But as it stands the book has a lot wrong with it, which is a shame as the subject matter is relevant and topical and deserves a better treatment. By chance I’ve just read Clair Ni Chonghaile’s Fractured which sings while this one is mired in its own verbosity.

  • Yves Gounin
    2019-04-14 02:50

    Je ne comprends pas le succès de Yasmina Khadra. Tant "L'attentat" que "Ce que le jour doit à la nuit" m'avaient fait bailler d'ennui. Chacun de ses livres est pourtant un best-seller. Le dernier en date n'a pas fait exception.Je l'ai lu moins par plaisir que par obligation : ce n'est pas tous les jours qu'un roman grand public a l'Afrique pour décor.Et j'ai été mortellement déçu par cette histoire sans queue ni tête d'un médecin allemand (pourquoi diable allemand ?) parti se remettre du suicide de sa femme en acheminant en voilier des médicaments vers les Comores (depuis quand envoie-t-on des médicaments aux Comores, qui plus est en voilier !). Au large de la Somalie, son bateau est arraisonné par des pirates. Otage, il est conduit ... au Darfour (imagine-t-on des terroristes de l'ETA se réfugier au Danemark ?) où il rencontre une jolie infirmière (espagnole) qui lui redonnera le gout de vivre.On se croirait dans un roman Harlequin mâtiné de Jules Verne et lardé de réflexions philosophiques à la Paolo Coelho. La plume de Yasmina Khadra est pachydermique, laissant suspecter dans l'usage répété d'adjectifs compliqués le désir secret de l'auteur de "faire style" ("Il réside au tréfonds de ces êtres, une flamme immarcescible qui les éclaire et les ravive chaque fois que les ténèbres tentent de les dissoudre")J'aurais pourtant dû me méfier d'une quatrième de couverture qui annonce "un voyage saisissant de réalisme qui nous transporte de la Somalie au Soudan dans une Afrique orientale tour à tour sauvage, irrationnelle, sage, fière, digne et infiniment courageuse".

  • Serf
    2019-04-23 02:12

    It was a solid 4 star read, a tale about a german doctor who's wife commits suicide and in bid to escape the tragedy goes on a trip with his friend to deliver aid to missions in Africa. Off the coast of Sudan their boat gets hijacked by pirates and they get taken and tortured in order to receive ransom for their return.What I enjoyed(enjoyed is a strange word given the context) about the story was the way the main characters grief over his wife was dealt with and how he copes with the abuse he suffers at the hands of his kidnappers. How he comes to terms with everything that happens to him and in a way shows how everyone everywhere has to pick themselves up after tragedy or atrocities and continue living.

  • AdiTurbo
    2019-04-01 23:47

    This is a hard book to review. On the one hand, it has an engrossing plot which sweeps you in and draws you into a totally different world right away, forcing you to think about your own life circumstances and good fortune, which we almost always take for granted. On the other hand, it isn't perfect, and is somewhat preachy in its philosophies and politics. Also, it is sometimes truly difficult to read about how harrowing and horrifying human life can be in the third world. There are shocking scenes in this novel which I found difficult to read through. The characters are sometimes over the top, representing ideas and stands instead of being real people. Still, it is an important book, and pretty enjoyable all in all. I recommend it with all its faults.

  • Raquel Pereira
    2019-04-17 20:01

    Opinião no Blog: https://atocadonunca.wordpress.com/20...

  • Claire McAlpine
    2019-03-31 02:02

    It's disturbing, compelling, likely to provoke much debate and makes me look forward to reading his next book.Kurt Krausmann, a doctor living in Frankfurt, Germany met a beautiful woman while in Paris, both were there for work purposes, attending different conferences in the same hotel, seemingly wedded to their careers, they found each other and if we are to believe the doctor narrator, 10 years of contentedness followed.Moments from the past now arrive unbidden, a mocking assurance as his illusion of bliss is permanently scarred the evening he arrives home to discover the loving (though recently tormented by he knows not what) Jessica, has committed suicide.The doctor’s ritualistic, clinical, predictable life is turned upside down and he experiences extremes of emotion, the like of which he would normally only ever encounter in the detached manner he has of observing patients, those symptoms he has so often downplayed in others threaten to overwhelm him.His friend Hans Mekkenroth, a wealthy philanthropist throws him a lifeline, suggesting he travel with him on one of his regular humanitarian missions, they will sail across the seas in his yacht to deliver supplies to the Comoros Isles.Hans lost his wife Paula some years before and though there isn’t a day when he doesn’t miss her, he appreciates that life doesn’t stop, he has found meaning in using his wealth to try and alleviate the suffering of others (while enjoying the element of adventure), whether it is the poor of Africa or the 1st world problems of his companion the Doctor, Kurt.Kurt is about to discover a version of suffering and misery worse than he came with, when they are hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden in the middle of the night and taken hostage. Transported inland, they are initially held in a cave, while their captors decide what to do with them and teach them a lesson or two in the meantime.The men are moved and lose all sense of where they actually are, as they try to understand who is in charge and what is going on around them. When they meet fellow hostage Bruno, a Frenchman who has been living a nomadic existence in Africa for 40 years, they begin to understand the varying potential prices on their heads and fear for their survival. Despite his captivity, Bruno the ‘born again African’ Frenchman, refuses to let go of his love for Africa, countering every negative situation with an alternative view.The hostage experience awakens a once dormant, now seething rage in the Doctor, an equivalent madness that has been roused for some time in his captors, as they trade insults, tirades of hatred and contempt revealing how similar they all are, despite their intent to exert superiority and dominance, each striving to rise above the other. They have worn their societal labels, been perceived, and practised as a Poet(the African) and a Doctor(the Westerner) yet in this unforgiving environment, they are reduced to their despicable worst, seeing the other as their nemesis, representing the worst of those stereotypes, they reduce each other to in their respective forms of bigotry, showing themselves equally capable of the worst man can do, given the circumstances.It is a compelling story that provokes as many questions as it answers, that at times risks falling into the stereotypical traps it seeks to avert. The Doctor had no desire to travel to the African continent, he is there by accident, thus he represents the perspective of those who come by their views through media and external cultural perspectives and his violent experience would seem only to strengthen those views, though they are challenged by some of his later encounters.Without giving the plot away, I conclude he learns little from his experience, he reverts to his former self, seeks a form of escape from his reality, another version of the life he had before. Perhaps this is what Khadra is getting at, whether it's a hostage experience, a safari trip or medical relief, that Westerners remain unchanged by their experience? Certainly tourism is rarely a life changing activity, but living in another country for more than 40 years might be.We were puzzled by the suicide of the Doctor's wife and though a reason is proffered, there is little introspection on his part to understand his role in it. Did his subsequent journey transform his character in any way? His reaction on his return and unwillingness to explore it, suggest not.On the reverse side of this equation, we witness the horror of hostage taking and the keeping of prisoners in horrid conditions, the anger and violence of men, the arid landscape, civilian brutalities, villagers on the run and a refugee camp. They a significant contrast to the part of Africa I have been in recently through Wangari Maathai’s autobiography, Unbowed, One Woman's Story, she inhabited a woman’s world in the beginning and then through education, the Kenyan elite. Her story does more to dispel the myths and stereotypes than anything else I have read so far. She may have been an exceptional woman, but I have no doubt there are many more like her, who could teach us a lot more about the Frenchman Bruno’s favourite and frequent quote:‘That’s Africa, Monsieur Krausmann!’My complete review here at Word by Word.

  • Christophe BEZIER
    2019-04-19 20:52

    Livre inégal: quelques incohérences, mais une formidable réflexion sur la vie, en tout cas qui me touche en ce moment."Vis chaque matin comme s'il était le premierEt laisse au passé ses remords et méfaitsVis chaque soir comme s'il était le dernierCar nul ne sait de quoi demain sera fait."

  • Iceman
    2019-04-11 02:44

    Yasmina Khadra é, para mim, a grande revelação de 2012.Embora já tivesse ouvido falar de alguns dos seus romances, sobretudo as “Andorinhas de Cabul”, confesso que pouco interesse me havia despertado os livros deste autor argelino, até que me deparei com a obra “O que o Dia Deve à Noite” e fiquei rendido à sua escrita sublime e, principalmente, à sua capacidade de enlevo que apenas os Grandes Escritores, aqueles que nasceram com o Dom da escrita, possuem.Cada Dia é Um Milagre (no original “L'équation africaine”), é o seu mais recente romance e tem a mão do génio, o enlevo que nos embala por uma narrativa belíssima, mas igualmente crua e nua que mostra a essência do Continente africano, a violência do quotidiano que o mestre Yasmina vai pincelando numa tela que os nossos olhos vão apreciando com horror, hipnotizados pela magia que cada palavra encerra.E o principal personagem é mesmo África.A África de Yasmina Khadra que nos entra alma dentro ávida de ser ouvida, é como um grito lancinante de sonhos perdidos, projectos inacabados, de contrastes infames, um futuro adiado cujos responsáveis são aqueles que juraram governar em nome do povo mas que fecham os olhos e até contribuem no selvático despojo diário a que a gente simples, rude do povo está sujeita sem poder reagir, sem qualquer tipo de defesa do que aquelas ajudas humanitárias que diariamente assistimos pela televisão no conforto do nosso lar. Uma África onde a vida humana vale tanto como um grão de areia de qualquer deserto inóspito.E é isso que Yasmina nos mostra de uma forma quase surrealista.Tudo se inicia com um suicídio que eu considero a própria contra-metáfora do que a partir daí se vai desenrolar. Mais à frente, o autor cogita sobre o assunto e refere, como é possível, alguém que tudo tem, um bom marido, dinheiro na conta bancária, saúde, amigos e família, suicidar-se por uma questão supérflua?Kurt Krausmann vê-se num turbilhão de emoções e desgostos. Sem saber bem o que fazer da sua vida, resolve aceitar o convite do seu amigo de longa data, o milionário e benfeitor Hans, numa viagem humanitária às Comores.No entanto e já em águas internacionais, o veleiro é atacado por piratas e inicia-se aí um trajecto feito de humilhações e violência, mas igualmente um trajecto de descoberta de uma África completamente desconhecida, mas também um processo de autodescoberta que irá mudar para sempre a vida de Kurt.Embora seja África o centro do livro, todo o livro acaba por ser também uma intensa reflexão sobre a natureza humana e a forma como o local e as circunstâncias moldam essa natureza, a forma impressionante como o ser humano se adapta a qualquer condição. Ou seja, sobressai que cada ser humano só é diferente entre si pelo seu passado que lhe moldou as características, pelo meio onde vive e o que observa. Por outro lado, o livro é também um hino à vida e à importância que pequenas coisas, que não damos valor, podem ter na nossa vida e o quão importante se tornam quando não as temos. Isso sente-se de uma forma muito violenta aquando do suicídio que marca o início do livro e que se vai sentindo ao longo de toda a obra.São estes os dois principais pilares da obra que o autor nunca deixa cair.No entanto, em contraposto, o autor também desenvolve uma mensagem de esperança, não só para África, como também para o género humano que, no fundo, sabe ser generoso, sabe perdoar e fazer o bem ao seu semelhante. Há um personagem que é a síntese desse paradigma e, mesmo sendo apresentado aos nossos olhos como o monstro que exemplifica a violência em África, acaba por se tornar, ele próprio, o exemplo da moldagem humana segundo as circunstâncias.Um livro fascinante que me comoveu pelos seus contrastes e pela forma como me fez meditar no bem e no mal, no supérfluo e no essencial, na alegria e riqueza de estar vivo e de saúde num local aprazível que me fornece estabilidade e condições para viver com dignidade.Mais uma obra belíssima e envolvente de um escritor que muito aprecio.

  • Cmorice
    2019-04-22 21:50

    Autour d'un phénomène dramatique - les prises d'otages récurrentes au large de la Somalie -, Yasmina Khadra, au sommet de son art, construit un roman éblouissant, qui mêle suspense, récit d'aventures et histoire d'amour enfiévrée.Médecin à Francfort, Kurt Krausmann mène une existence ordinaire, limitée à ses allers-retours entre son cabinet de consultation et son appartement bourgeois. Jusqu'au drame familial qui va le précipiter dans le désespoir. Afin de l'aider à surmonter son chagrin, son meilleur ami, Hans, un riche homme d'affaires versé dans l'humanitaire, lui propose de l'emmener sur son voilier jusque dans les Comores, pour les besoins d'une bonne cause. Au large des côtes somaliennes, leur bateau est assailli par des pirates. Kurt et Hans sont enlevés puis transférés dans un campement clandestin. Dans leur geôle improvisée, se trouve déjà Bruno, un otage français que tout le monde semble avoir oublié, et qui tente péniblement de concilier sa passion pour le continent africain avec l'angoisse de sa captivité. Une détention à l'issue incertaine, des conditions de vie innommables, une promiscuité dangereuse avec des mercenaires sans pitié, c'est le début d'une descente aux enfers dont personne ne sortira indemne. Mais parce que le drame est propice aux revirements de situation, c'est aussi pour Kurt le début d'une grande histoire d'amour.En nous offrant ce voyage saisissant de réalisme, qui nous transporte, de la Somalie au Soudan, dans une Afrique orientale aux multiples contradictions - tour à tour effrayante, irrationnelle, sage, fière, digne et infiniment courageuse -, Yasmina Khadra confirme une fois encore son immense talent de narrateur. Construit et mené de main de maître, ce roman décrit la lente et irréversible transformation d'un Européen, dont les yeux vont, peu à peu, s'ouvrir à la réalité d'un monde jusqu'alors inconnu de lui. Un hymne à la grandeur d'un continent livré aux pires calamités.

  • Ana Raquel
    2019-03-24 03:45

    Esta é uma história que tem como pano de fundo o drama.Kurt (personagem principal) acaba por perder a sua esposa (por suicídio). Seu amigo Hans na tentativa de o ajudar, convence-o a partir no veleiro com ele. O que acontece é que depois ambos são sequestrados e Hans o seu amigo, é assassinado. Este livro temos por um lado duas visões que não são mais do que duas escolhas, ou por outras palavras, duas opções. A primeira prende-se com o desistir da vida, em vez de lutar e arregaçar as mangas. A segunda assenta na persistência, no viver a vida encarando cada dia como um milagre - daí o titulo "Cada dia é um milagre". As duas personagens que me tocaram neste livro foram Hans e Kurt pelo facto de assentarem a sua perspectiva de vida na segunda opção: "Porque estás triste? .... Não devias. Só os mortos estão tristes porque não podem levantar-se." Toda a acção assim como as cenas são muito bem conseguidas. Permitindo ao leitor viajar também por África e viver intensamente esta história.Presenteio-vos com as frases que me tocaram neste livro: " Vive cada manhã como se fosse a primeira/ E deixa ao passado os remorsos e as más acções,/ Vive cada noite como se fosse a última/ Porque ninguém sabe de que será feito o amanhã"Recomendo este magnifico livro :)

  • GONZA
    2019-04-18 23:56

    Another good book by Yasmina Khadra, this time we don't dwell with Muslims but with African pirates and kidnappers. The story of Kurt doesn't take a long span of time but it's so dense that it seems a bigger book than 300 pages more or less. The complications of a marriage life, the need to help, the delusion of knowing our spouse so well to remain astonish when something incredible happens. All this topics and more in this novel that gives a lot of food for thoughts.Un altro bel libro di Yasmina Khadra, ma stavolta non abbiamo a che fare con i mussulmani, quanto piuttosto con i pirati somali, guerriglieri e rapitori. La storia di questo libro non prende tanto tempo ma é cosí densa che non sembra di aver letto solo 300 pagine (piú o meno). Le complicazioni della vita matrimoniale, il bisogno di aiutare chi ne ha bisogno, l'illusione di conoscere il nostro coniuge cosí bene che quando succede l'incredibile non riusciamo ad accettarlo. Tutti questi argomenti e molti di piú in questo libro che offre veramente molti spunti di riflessione.THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND GALLIC BOOK FOR THE PREVIEW!

  • Megz
    2019-04-08 22:59

    It’s been a long time since I was last so disappointed in a book. I really, really disliked this one.To begin with, the writing is not at all gripping. The entire story is told in first-person past-tense, which makes it sound like a bad memoir rather than a thrilling tale. The characters – all of them – are exceedingly flat. I felt zero attachment to any of them. They weren’t even interesting. In fact, they were all horribly stereotypical. This book is an exercise in stereotypes.The book is strewn with the kind of African stereotypes so many Africans are desperately trying to destroy. It paints Africans with one brush, and consistently addresses Africa as a single country. Khadra being North African himself is no excuse for perpetuating inaccuracies of this continent and its countries. Usually I can find enough good in a book to make a nice “compliment sandwich” but I really couldn’t find anything good in this one, so I’ll just stop here.Disclaimer: I received a free eARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • John Kaufmann
    2019-04-18 19:48

    Be forewarned - this is an emotionally draining book. The main character is thrown into survival mode as a captive for an extended period in the harsh environment of Darfur. The book takes you into the experience of isolation and loneliness. The book has some amount of violence, but more than that, it is the feelings created by living under the omnipresent threat of terror that drives the book. Then, when he returns to his homeland (the last 40 pages or so), you can really feel his disorientation. Thankfully, the book has a redeeming ending - having gone through the experiences of the main character, I could identify with the epiphany that closes the book. Excellent book, but not for the reader who doesn't like being hammered with bleakness for most of a book.

  • Trevor
    2019-04-20 03:46

    What an enjoyable novel.This is the story of a man, distraught by the suicide of his wife, leaves his home town to assist with the setting up of a charity hospital in Africa. Things are never that simple though and the his kidnapping has a major impact on both his and his colleagues experiences.I read a translated version of the story, into English from the original French, and the descriptions of life in the East Africa fsub-saraha let realistic and truthful - sometimes descriptions and feelings get lost in translation, in this case they did not.My only disappointment with the story is how he was rescued, as this did not ring 100% true.Well worth getting a copy to read.I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Erika
    2019-03-29 02:57

    A powerful story about a man kidnapped in Africa and how the continent transforms him. Some of my favourite quotes:P46: ... the true vocation of a man was to be useful. P62: In Africa, there are no tourists, only voyeurs. P96: So you were born in the West, were you? You're lucky. Now you're going to be reborn in Africa and you'll understand what that means. P100: When a fly is trapped in a web, it can't blame the spider. That's how life is. P282: The man who sees Africa only once in his life will die blind in one eye.

  • Alison
    2019-04-15 03:56

    Unfortunately I just didn't get on with this at all. I felt the prose was largely quite heavy and laboured and the storyline was slow. I found it really hard going, and I didn't really take to any of the characters. I was hoping to swept away by the bleak, harsh beauty of Africa, but this just didn't captivate me.

  • Czarny Pies
    2019-04-22 23:49

    Ici Yasmina Khadra annonce qu'un médécin n'aura jamais beson de se désespérer de son sort. La solidarité avec les pauvres offre toujours un chemin à la redemption et au bonheur. Je suis parfaitement d'accord avec sa conclusion mais je trouve que l'intrigue est trop prévisible et que les personnages manquent de profondeur.

  • Nina
    2019-04-20 02:56

    At first I got irritated by the narrative, by Kurt's never-ending inner monologue and his highbrowed manner of speaking, which, moreover, is also shared by some of his African interlocutors. Until I realized that Khadra's means of expression work. The novel tells a story of how a European has gradually absorbed Africa, in spite of its crude reality. In spite, or because of it?Niesamowita książka. Pisana jest w pierwszej osobie. Niemiecki lekarz, Kurt Krausmann, po traumatycznych przeżyciach, trochę przez przypadek zderza się z Afryką. Jest na nią zupełnie nieprzygotowany, a ponieważ pierwsze spotkanie następuje w tragicznych okolicznościach, szok coraz bardziej się pogłębia. Kurt to osoba przyzwyczajona do analizowania każdego elementu sytuacji, w której się znajduje, wszystkich swoich stanów duchowych, działań osób, z którymi się styka, ich wpływu na jego los oraz motywów, którymi się kierują. I wszystko to, jako narrator werbalizuje, używając wyszukanego języka europejskiego inteligenta. Taki styl, taka maniera jest dość denerwująca. Przynajmniej, początkowo, była dla mnie. Tym bardziej, że co najmniej dwaj, istotni dla fabuły, afrykańscy rozmówcy Kurta mówią równie kwiecistym, przeintelektualizowanym językiem, co nie przeszkadza im w stosowaniu aktów przemocy wobec więźniów.Szybko wychodzi na jaw, że bohater-narrator niewiele z tego co widzi, rozumie. W jednym z kluczowych momentów, gdzieś w połowie książki, Bruno, towarzysz jego niedoli, Francuz żyjący w Afryce od czterdziestu lat, wyjaśnia - Afryki się nie ogląda, doktorze. Afrykę się czuje - Ile czasu i jakich doświadczeń życiowych trzeba, aby Afrykę poczuć? Aby przestać się dziwić, w jaki sposób wycieńczeni głodem i chorobami ludzie trzymają się życia? Czy że w Afryce można nie tylko czytać poezję, ale również samemu pisać wiersze, a przy tym utrzymywać się z rozboju? Wymiana zdań między Francuzem, który uważa się za Afrykanina, i Niemcem, który zarzuca mu zaślepienie, jest długa i burzliwa. - Widzę tylko ucieczki, obławy, przemoc i bezdomność ludu pozbawionego bogów i wartości, wydanego na pastwę złodziei i zbrodniczych tyranów - argumentuje Kurt - Chyba nie nadajemy na tej samej długości fal, Krausmann - mówi Bruno. - I nie chodzimy po tym samym świecie - konkluduje Kurt. Jest to w gruncie rzeczy opowieść o przyswajaniu Afryki przez Europejczyka. I to tej Afryki, która dla turysty, na przykład, jest niedostępna. Jej krajobraz, busz, pustynia, dzikie zwierzęta odgrywają rolę ważną, ale są jedynie tłem dla mentalności i zachowań mieszkańców Czarnego Lądu. Bo to poprzez ludzi zawiera Kurt znajomość z Afryką, znajomość która prowadzi do przewartościowania jego oglądu wielu spraw. Czyni to nie tylko w rozmowach, przede wszystkim tocząc niekończący się wewnętrzny monolog, wymądrzając się na każdy temat, jakby powiedział nieprzychylny czytelnik. Ja, może bez entuzjazmu, ale zaakceptowałam ten jego strumień świadomości. Zrobiłam to, kiedy uświadomiłam sobie, że nigdy wcześniej nie dowiedziałam się więcej o Afryce niż z tej książki. Nie wiem, czy Mohammed Moulessehoul, algierski pisarz używający literackiego pseudonimu Yasmina Khadra, wybierając taki sposób narracji przewidział do końca jego skuteczność. W moim przypadku, całkowicie mu się udało. Mimo że chwilami zgrzytałam zębami czytając niektóre refleksje Kurta Krausmanna, na odległość po prostu zalatujące czystą szmirą.

  • Collezionedistorie
    2019-04-01 22:57

    L'Africa ad uso e consumo degli occidentali?Mi ha stupito il pensiero che l'autore di questo romanzo sia arabo, perché l'Africa descritta nella rocambolesca avventura di Kurt, medico tedesco rimasto vedovo e preso in ostaggio in Darfur, pare proprio vista da un occidentale -in effetti è coerente con il punto di vista del protagonista, ma è una narrazione povera di contenuti. C'è un miscuglio di elementi che piacciono tanto alla cronaca: il sequestro di bianchi, i pirati in acque internazionali, il mercato degli ostaggi, i saccheggi e la fame nelle profondità dei villaggi africani. Manca però del collante, un qualcosa in più che renda credibile Kurt che non sembra farsi toccare da nulla e alla fine supera tutto magicamente: il rapimento, le violenze, il lutto della moglie, e se ne torna dritto in Sudan tra le braccia di una dottoressa della Croce Rossa. L'intero romanzo mi ha dato un'impressione di superficialità, credo che l'autore abbia scritto di molto meglio e di essere partita dall'opera sbagliata.*scrivevo questo nel 2015. Successivamente di Khadra ho letto "L'attentato" e ho capito che avevo ragione ad aspettarmi molto più di questo romanzo da lui!

  • sunny hill book club
    2019-03-31 20:04

    A thought provoking, beautifully written book.From the opening page our book club readers were drawn in and captivated by the author's use of language. There were some beautifully descriptive passages. We thought the relationship between the captors and captives was extraordinary delving deep into the complexity that the effect of violence, inhumanity and deprivation can have on human behaviour. Recommended for book clubs. Most of us liked it, but as with any book club it was not to everyone's taste as it was not the fastest of paced books and some of the descriptions of torments heaped on the captives was rather graphic. However, we all agreed that it was beautifully written and provoked lots discussion about the characters and relationships between the principle characters.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-24 21:01

    I thought the plot was riveting. But I'm disappointed in the improbability of the language. How could Somali pirates speak unencumbered with French and German captives? What common language could they all have? The pirates would never have had the vocabulary and sentence structure depicted in this novel, regardless of the language. Each character had the same voice. I don't know how much is just poor translation, but some phrases make no sense, such as "biting his nails like a rat", "violent animosity", and "eyes like rubies." The racist, condescending tone bothered me as well. Is the depiction of the continent as a country parody? I hope so.

  • Jo Hurst
    2019-03-24 22:03

    This book had so much promise but just didn't deliver. The main character Kurt was so shallow and unfeeling that no empathy could be elicited from his ordeal. You almost felt he deserved it. I was so disappointed that his change of heart came not from his experiences or the effect they had on him but from his supposed feelings for another character. He finished the book as shallow as he started it. However the reader can not fail to be moved by the Africa portrayed in the book and this saved the book from being a total disaster. That and Bruno who was fun!!

  • Pino
    2019-03-27 00:53

    Was it necessary to make the obvious ending that long, I wonder ? Didn't we have enough book romanticizing Africa that we need a new one ? The style was elegant as we're used to from Yasmina Khadra however the story was dull and plain. The description and dialogue went so long sometimes and sounded boring and surreal. I expected more from a book with such title .

  • Tracy Griffin
    2019-03-24 02:56

    Could have been a fantastic book, the plot had so much potential but felt the writing let it down.

  • Claire
    2019-04-21 00:02

    Un livre extra ! Je l'ai vécu / non lu / !

  • Zeb Kantrowitz
    2019-04-03 21:10

    The African Equation by Yasmina Khadra (a free NetGalley eBook)Once again, Khadra has written a book that could only be written by an African who understands how things work in an insurgency. Although he is North African (Algerian) Khadra was involved with fighting the Muslim Brotherhood during and after Algeria’s War of Independence. As a member of the Indigenous Police he dealt with members on a daily basis. They are little different in attitude from the Jihadis in Somalia.There are three parts to the book, each almost a separate story. In the first part we meet Dr Kurt Krausmann (a general practitioner in private practice) who is trying to recover from the death of his wife. We learn about his life, marriage, business and medical practice. His friend Hans convinces him that he needs a sea voyage.Kurt is both an industrialist and philanthropist, who is taking a ship (his own) full of medical aide and equipment for a humanitarian mission to the Comoro Islands. The islands are off the east coast of African, just northwest of the island of Madagascar. They sail through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, then down the Red Sea. Off the coast of Somalia (near Aden) their boat is taken over by Pirates, who throw their Filopino cook overboard. In this second part, Kurt and Hans find themselves with their boat taken away and forced to live in a temporary camp. They end up in the hands of a small group of marauders who have to hide them from other larger groups. The Somalis realize that Hans could be worth a big ransom and go off to trade him to a bigger group. Kurt is left in captivity with a Frenchman (Bruno) from Djibouti, who has been held for over two years. Bruno is an old “African hand” and knows the ways of these rebels. With the majority of the group away with their “Captain”, they are left to the mercy of those left behind. These “leftovers” have no creed except to kill and pillage. They have no way of surviving except to fight as “Rebels”.After many months in the captivity and being driving further and further into the desert, one night Kurt and Bruno are able to steal a truck and get away. The problem is they have no idea where they are or which way they should go. They end up wrecking the truck and hook up with a group of refugees and members of the International Red Cross (IRC). The IRC group is able to contact their embassies in Khartoum (they are in Darfur, Sudan). The last part of the story is Kurt at back home in Frankfurt, Germany, dealing with the death of Hans (at the hands of the kidnappers) and his own “survivor’s guilt”. All through the book there are discussions between the characters as to the problems in and with Africa, and the people who live there are, and those who go there to do “good deeds”. It can be polemic, but well worth reading.Zeb Kantrowitz zworstblog.blogspot.com [email protected]

  • Claire Kreutzberger
    2019-04-23 01:47

    Mon impression initiale (négative) concernant ce livre n'a fait que se renforcer au fil de ma lecture tout en diminuant, même si cela peut paraître paradoxal.J'adore généralement les écrits de Khadra, et je ne suis pas de ceux qui ne jurent que par son Quatuor algérien. J'ai énormément aimé des oeuvres plus récentes comme "Ce que le jour doit à la nuit", par exemple. Même "L'Olympe des infortunes" qui (arrêtez-moi si je me trompe) n'a pas été très bien reçu a trouvé grâce à mes yeux.Mais je considère que beaucoup de choses sonnent faux dans "L'équation africaine". La 1e partie du livre (divisé en 3 parties)m'a particulièrement déplu. Notamment les dialogues, que j'ai trouvés plats et forcés. J'ai eu le sentiment que l'écriture ne faisait qu'effleurer la surface des choses, qu'elle expliquait (trop longuement d'ailleurs) les choses au lieu de les montrer ou de simplement les suggérer. Je ne suis pas entrée dans la peau de Kurt, le personnage principal. Si Khadra reste à mes yeux une grande plume, je trouve que son style s'essouffle ici. Trop de facilités, de phrases pas aussi ciselées que ce à quoi l'auteur nous avait habitués. Le reste du livre souffre à mon sens des mêmes défauts. Beaucoup de verbiage qui se veut introspection mais ne dépasse pas le stade des vérités générales un peu vaseuses. Du coup, il en ressort un manque d'authenticité, de fraîcheur, alors que, pour moi, Khadra avait jusque-là été un maître en la matière. Il savait insuffler énormément de profondeur à ses personnages, il les rendait vraiment palpables, vrais.Cela étant dit, plus l'histoire progressait, plus je me suis laissée prendre à ses filets, je l'avoue. Je dresse un tableau très sombre de ce livre, et ma note peut sembler très dure, mais attention : "L'équation africaine" n'en reste pas moins un ouvrage d'honnête facture qui, je n'en doute pas, a la faculté d'émouvoir, de choquer, d'enseigner quelque chose etc. Mais étant donné la nature dramatique de l'intrigue, les sujets durs qui sont abordés, j'espérais plus de flamboyance; je m'attendais à un chef-d'oeuvre digne de Khadra et à la hauteur des enjeux cruciaux qu'il évoque.

  • Jenny Cooper
    2019-04-16 20:47

    A novel about the kidnapping of two Germans en route to Africa. They are on a humanitarian aid mission, Hans for purely altruistic reasons and his friend Kurt who is escaping from emotional traumas at home and hopes the trip will be cathartic. Cathartic it may have been – ultimately - but certainly not in the way he had envisaged. They are hijacked by a group of bandits on their outward journey and the book goes on to describe their ensuing period in captivity and its aftermath. The rebels are a lawless group comprising individuals who have come together for all the wrong reasons - they have set themselves up against the establishment either because they have been let down by it or because they have rebelled against it. There is no shared common objective and there are no strategic plans to achieve a specific goal. Add into the mix a complete lack of strong leadership resulting in mistrust, infighting and random behavior patterns within the group and the hostages have a very uncomfortable time of it indeed. The result is a brutal, violent and harrowing period of confinement for Hans and Kurt as well as for Bruno, another prisoner who they meet along the way. The detailed descriptions of the living conditions and the treatment of the captives are powerfully written and both the Western and the African characters are developed well, bringing them alive in a convincing way. In a book of this nature there is always the danger that any kind of equable conclusion is going to feel contrived. In this instance the author has succeeded in introducing both redemptive and uplifting elements which seem entirely natural and “right” in the circumstances. This was a gripping book which I thoroughly enjoyed. My only criticism is that the book was a little “flowery” at times with long stretches of prose which not only looked daunting on the page but which also dragged a little. Overall though, these sections paled into insignificance when taken as part of the whole. This was the first book that I have read by Yasmina Khadra but I hope it’s not the last.