Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Tickets are available for Graywolf Literary Gala in Minneapolis on September 19. For more details about the event or to make a gift in honor of our 50th anniversary, click here

Book Title

The Star of Algiers

A Novel
Author 1
Aziz Chouaki; Translated from the French by Ros Schwartz and Lulu Norman
Moussa Massy's ambitions extend far beyond the three-room apartment he shares with the other thirteen members of his family in Algiers. A gifted performer of modern Kabyle song, he is as inspired by Prince and Michael Jackson as he is by Arab and Algerian traditional music. His first taste of fame, however, is brief as the conflict between the fundamental Islamic group FIS and the more progressive FLN grows more violent and the city comes to a standstill amid corruption and scandal. As his music career begins to disintegrate, like the city itself, Massy's driving passion for music turns to unforgiving rage.

In energetic, urgent prose, Chouaki vividly portrays the harsh realities of a country in constant turmoil and brilliantly shows the capacity for despair and hatred of those who have nothing left to lose. Available for the first time in English, The Star of Algiers, a novel of great passion and originality, touches on the most contentious issues of our time.

A Lannan Translation Series Selection

Share Title

List Price
Publication Date
Publication Date
Trim Size
Trim Size
6 x 9
Available for the first time in English, Chouaki "powerfully depicts youth in distress, caught between the lure of the West and the mosque" (BIBA)

About the Author

Aziz  Chouaki
Credit: Jerry Bauer
Aziz Chouaki was born in 1951, grew up in Algeria with his mother, and learned to play guitar to the music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix—music later forbidden by the regime. For political reasons he has lived in France since 1991, where he has published novels and plays. The Star of Algiers is his first novel published in English.
More by author
Ros Schwartz is an award-winning literary translator, a leading light in the UK’s Translators’ Association of the Society of Authors and one of Britain’s foremost specialists in cross-cultural corporate communications.

A freelancer since 1980, Ros has translated some 60 works of fiction and non-fiction, particularly novels by contemporary Francophone writers. She runs a small translation company with a team of translators working into and out of the major European languages and specializing in the arts, development and corporate literature. She works for a select number of clients with the emphasis on quality and style, developing long-term relationships based on good communications. She runs numerous workshops, is a frequent speaker on the international circuit and publishes articles on translation-related issues.

Ros was Chair of the European Council of Literary Translators Associations (CEATL) from 2000 -2009 and is currently Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Programme. She was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009.
More by author


  • “The novel’s gripping narrative and political relevance make this a revelatory read.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “What starts out as a novel about sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll ends up as a warning of how the most unlikely person can convert to religious fanaticism. Chouaki, exiled in France since 1991, writes in a vivacious, telegraphic style that clearly delineates both the Algerian entertainment underworld and the asphyxiating totalitarianism of fanaticism, which few Americans comprehend.”—Library Journal
  • “This is worth a thousand scholarly explanations for September 11th.”—Elle (France)
  • “Chouaki forcefully describes youth in distress, caught between the lure of the West and the mosque. A novel of urgency, in a fortifying and syncopated style.”—BIBA
Back to Table of Contents