The Date in Its Cluster

The Date in Its Cluster
(working title)
الدقلة في عراجينها
(Al degla fi arajiniha)

Written by

(البشير خريف)

Published by


The wear and tear on lives in colonial Tunisia

The novel is divided into three parts, literally bunches, or clusters, in reference to the dates in the original title. Each part is devoted to one of the main characters: Mekki, his mother Khadija, and his beloved cousin Atra’.

Mekki, like many young Tunisians at the time, leaves the oasis of Nefta for a nearby town, Metlaoui, in order to work in the phosphate mines. There, he witnesses the birth of the Tunisian trade union movement, the anti-colonial struggle and the beginning of the Tunisian nationalist movement. Colonised and exploited as a worker, he will become an active participant and leader of the miners strike in 1928, a strike quickly crushed by Senegalese soldiers sent by France, he will lose his job and, at the end, his life. 

The novel is a vast social fresco of the 1920s in southern Tunisia.

Approximate number of pages: 340 p.

Foreign rights: contact publisher


Reasons to publish this book

It is the masterpiece of one of the most important Maghrebi writers and helps us to understand the roots of a more recent past.


  • French


    by Hedi Djebnoun and Assia Djebar

    published as

    La terre des passions brûlées in France in 1986 by J.C. Lattès
Reviewed by Elisabetta Bartuli