25 August, 2012
A Life Full of Holes by Driss ben Hamed Charhadi (1964)
This is a most unique book. Charhadi was an uneducated North African house servant encouraged to record a series of tapes on his life by the author Paul Bowles. The tapes were transcribed and published as A Life Full of Holes. The result is a remarkable story of the precarious hand-to-mouth existence led by untold numbers of people around the world. Through forced migrations, prison terms, betrayals and more, Charhadi comes across as charming, positive and yet somehow resigned to his lot in life. He is a compelling storyteller from a long oral tradition, and his observations on Christians – or Nazarenes as he calls them – are fascinating.