Book Review: The Disappearance of Mr. Nobody by Ahmed Taibaoui, Jonathan Wright (Translator)

 "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."

--Soren Kierkegaard

An abyss of police informers, dubious imams, unlicensed beer dealers, and grave robbers is captured in this haunting noir novel, which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature. It is a spare, expertly written, and compelling story about a man in Algiers who vanishes without a trace and the detective who searches for him who discovers more than he expected.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

In Rouiba, a nondescript suburb of Algiers, an unnamed man with a troubled past escapes his everyday life to find himself caring for an old man with dementia. When the man dies, the carer disappears into thin air. A police detective is assigned to investigate the circumstances of the old man's demise and to track down the caretaker, only to find that the unnamed man cannot be identified—that there is no trace of Mr. Nobody. The officer's search leads him to those whose paths once crossed Mr. Nobody's. In each of them he finds a reflection of the man he is looking for.

My rreaction to this novel...

I've never read a book from the Arabs before, but I can say that it's a decent novel for people who, like me, are just starting off. Frankly, I had no expectations; I simply happened to start reading it. Although we can read the book in a single sitting, I was able to finish it in two days and a half since I am a bit busy. I think the translation of the book is excellent since the translator did a great job of making it readable and entertaining. As I previously worked in the Middle East, I am somewhat familiar with other Arabic words, thus I found myself incredibly absorbed in the reading and picturing myself there.

Your attention will be fully captured by the opening sentence. From the first phrase of the paragraph till the last, my mind and imagination were completely overtaken. The intensity made you wonder if this belonged in the thriller category. It really had me thinking about what would happen next and made me want to read more and more, so I didn't even realize I was over halfway through the book. I was quite interested in the main character, and I felt his hardships throughout the story. Frankly, it's a little difficult to imagine what he went through, especially if he has that sort of mentality.

I've never been to Algeria, so I don't know much about their culture. I can say that some areas of Algeria speak a profound kind of Arabic, but even knowing this doesn't help me get to know them better. Reading novels like this offered me a glimpse into what they're like or even how they think, so I think it's great that I had the opportunity to read it. Although there are several paragraphs in the book that may confuse and exhaust the reader due to too many things occurring, overall it is a really entertaining read. I'll certainly suggest it to others who haven't started reading Arab works yet. I believe this book is an excellent starting point, especially if you enjoy reading fiction and suspense novels.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨(3.5/5)


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.