Boualem Sansal is an engineer with a doctorate in Economics, an outspoken critic of the Algerian government for which he held a top position in the Ministry of Industry until he was fired in 2003, and a prize-winning author of an extraordinary futurist fable about a world dominated by an Islamist Big Brother. His latest book, “2084. La Fin du Monde” (Gallimard, 2015), is a ferocious remake of “1984” – in spades. It was awarded the 2015 Grand Prize of the French Academy and declared by a prestigious literary magazine, “Lire”, the Best Book of 2015. I recommend its reading to French readers and invite patience on the part of English readers as we wait for the translation it deserves.
The novel describes a world where the current Islamist quest for domination of the planet has become a reality. It is a powerful, almost credible story of what the world could be like as of 2084, a world even worse than that imagined by Orwell for 1984. We discover the horror of what a universal charia would mean, through the eyes of a lone dissident whose doubts lead him to realize the enormity of the terror and brainwashing which have created a society of credulous, terrified slaves dominated and exploited by a clique of religious dictators.
There is no happy ending to the novel, but its central character is an enlightened Believer on the Brink destined, we hope, to exposing and demolishing the belief system which has blinded mankind and robbed it of the truth and therefore its freedom. A message for our times.
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