The Sand Child

Ben Jelloun, Tahar

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

  • Date of entry: Mar-05-1998
  • Last revised: Nov-30-2006


Hajii Ahmed has seven daughters. He wants a son so that his name will live on and he will be respected by the community. When his wife becomes pregnant again, he decides that the child, even if physically a girl, will be presented and raised as a boy. She/he is.

The novel is the tale of a storyteller who claims to have found the child's journals. The child lives her life trying to understand her sexuality without ever revealing the secret forced upon her by her father. She spends her adolescence totally alone, trying to recover the girl-child within. The end of the story is ambiguous, as the storyteller leaves off and his audience offers several possible conclusions.


The novel is written in highly poetic language and does not have a linear narrative. The prose seems to recreate the dissociation experienced by the child.



Place Published

New York



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