Fouad Laroui

Born in Morocco in 1958, Fouad Laroui settled in Amsterdam, where he teaches French literature. He is the author of several novels, including A Year with the French, which was nominated for the Prix Goncourt in 2010. He has also published several collections of short stories, one of which, You’ve Understood Nothing about Hassan II, won the “Grand prix” award for short stories from the Society of Men of Letters of France, in addition to two collections of poetry in Dutch. His latest work, The Strange Matter of Dassoukine’s Trousers, is available now, published by Éditions Julliard.

The novel

Left unsaid in Brussels

Fouad Laroui Sofitel Brussels Europe

“Brussels,” John mumbled… … and then something in him murmured: “Strange place for a meeting.” He was annoyed by such ready-made phrases surging into his thoughts. He knew where this one had come from. From a film, of course. A French film, with Deneuve and Depardieu. But John often didn’t know the origin of these random bits that would suddenly surface, perfectly enunciated, in the flow of the interior monologue that accompanied him night and day, a cascade of words from which his only respite was to close his eyes and listen to a sonata (“Bach again!” Annie would sigh…) An article in the Volkskrant that he had just bought here in the Amsterdam train station now caught his attention as he waited on the platform for the Brussels-bound Thalys. Scientists had made “a big step” toward mind-reading. Here was another thing that annoyed him: Why talk about progress (a step is progress, isn’t it?) when science made an advance…

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