"Mosbahi is a wonderful novelist . . . . translations such as this will enrich discussions of the Arab Spring."—Lamia Benyoussef, translator of The Perplexity of a Muslim Woman
Originally published in 2020, Hassouna Mosbahi’s riveting novel explores the human psyche amidst the turbulent aftermath of the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Through the experiences of three friends, Mosbahi narrates the profound impact of violence and cultural change in Tunisian society and the ways in which those shifts are reflected in their personal lives.
We meet Saleem, on the brink of turning fifty, whose once blissful marriage teeters on the edge as his mental health deteriorates. Aziz, a retired postal clerk with an unassuming appearance, finds solace in literature and international cinema. And Omran, a well-traveled writer and public intellectual, navigates a complex relationship with a young Franco-Tunisian woman who lives in Paris. As these men forge an unlikely friendship over drinks at a coastal bar in Bizerte, and through long walks along the beach, they grapple with the increasing political extremism that surrounds them. Repelled by the Jihadist rhetoric and the brand of masculinity it represents, the three friends question their relationship to their country, which is both their home and a place they feel alienated from.
We Never Swim in the Same River Twice offers an alternative narrative of the Arab Spring, one that challenges Western media’s depiction of a “blessed revolution,” and gives readers an intimate and elegiac portrait of Tunisian history.
Hassouna Mosbahi is an award-winning Tunisian writer, literary critic, and journalist. He is the author of several novels and short story collections, including Solitaire and A Tunisian Tale.
William Maynard Hutchins is professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy & Religion at Appalachian State University. His translations include Hassan Nasr’s Return to Dar al-Basha and Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Modern.
6 x 9, 232 pages