BY NINA BOURAOUI
TRANSLATED BY ANEESA ABBAS HIGGINS
Héloïse Press' Special Edition
Satisfaction is an intense, introspective novel that explores the intimate thoughts, feelings and impressions of Mme Akli, a French woman living in Algeria in the late 1970s.
Mme Akli is a possessive mother in conflict with her own sexuality in a country that feels alien to her. The acquiescence of Catherine Bousba, mother of her son’s best friend Bruce, will cause a turmoil of emotional events. Through a narrative charged with sensuality and repressed passion, we navigate Mme Akli’s complex and paradoxical feelings towards her own son, Catherine, Bruce and the Algerian landscape.
Nina Bouraoui (Rennes, 1967) is at the forefront of Francophone North African writing. She spent most of her childhood in Algeria and returned to France in 1980. She studied in Paris where she has been since. Her work has been critically acclaimed. Her early novel La Voyeuse interdite won the Prix du Livre in 1991. In 2005, her book Mes Mauvaises Pensées was awarded the prestigious Prix Renaudot. Satisfaction merges autobiography with fiction, and it is a project very close to Nina's heart.
Aneesa Abbas Higgins is an award-winning translator who translates mostly literary fiction from French. Her translation of Nina Bouraoui’s All Men Want to Know was the recipient of a PEN Translates Award and her translation of Elisa Shua Dusapin’s Winter in Sokcho was the winner of the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature. Other authors she has translated include Tahar Ben Jelloun, Vénus Khoury-Ghata and Ali Zamir. Her work has also appeared in Words Without Borders and Asymptote. Before becoming a literary translator she taught French for many years in an international school in London.
About Satisfaction, Aneesa says: 'Translating Satisfaction has been both a pleasure and a challenge. Nina Bouraoui’s prose is haunting and lyrical, full of resonances and rich sensory imagery. Teasing out the meaning from the multi-layered tissue of her text while retaining the hypnotic qualities of her distinctive voice and carrying all these elements across to another language is never straightforward. Meaning, musicality, nuance, sentence structure – all must be deftly juggled and re-arranged to create a new whole'.