Paris, When It’s Naked
Paris is beautiful. It aches to say so, one’s arms are never big enough to hug such an immensity. Claude can say it innocently. It’s harder for me to say so, it’s also more poignant. It tears me apart. Paris is the heart of a lingering colonial power, and that knowledge goes to bed with me every night. When I walk in this city I plunge into an abyss, I lose myself in contemplation, I experience ecstasy, an ecstasy which I know to be also a defeat. Look, look how ugly are the Arab Quarter’s pimps, how dehumanized the Algerians who squat in it, how destroyed their women, how degrading their prostitution to the very ones who vote for their expulsion. And I consider this monstrous being called Paris to be beautiful....
Paris, When It’s Naked is the testimony of a lover whose conscience is stricken, whose awareness has been pierced by the fruit of other knowledge and experience. The lover is Adnan herself, the object of her desire is Paris and the forbidden fruits are her past and present allegiances. Composed of short sections, each titled “Paris, When It’s Naked,” this gem of a book offers an unconventional but crucial narrative. [Ammiel Alcalay]