The sun of Arabic literature ‘’Ahlam Mugtaganmi’’ and ‘’Memory in the Flesh.”

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Jensen (2002) affirmed that “Dhakirat Al Jasad” or ‘’Memory in the flesh’’ is an Arabic novel, which written by the Algerian author ‘’Ahlam Mustaganmi’’ in 1993. Simultaneously, the story published in Algeria and Lebanon. Additionally, the novel won Naguib Mahfouz Prize for literature in 1998. The novel has reached a high level of popularity in the Arab world, Selling an unprecedented 50,000 copies.

It is worth mentioning that ‘Mustaganmi’’ so called ‘’ the sun of Arabic literature’’ (ADAB 2005).   As an Arabic appreciation because of her unique, distinguish novels. Such as Fawda el Hawas (Chaos of the Senses), El Aswad Yalikou Biki (Black Suits You so Well), Aber Sareer (Bed Hopper) and (The Art of Forgetting) (Mustaganmi n.d.).

Markedly, “Dhakirat Al Jasad” has being taught in many universities in the Middle East as an obligatory curriculum in literature field. Particularly, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia and Bahrain. Additionally, to some European univariates. Case in point, Sorbonne University (Ibtesamh Magazine 2016).

Translated from Arabic into English by Amal Almoualed

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Generally speaking, the novel ‘’ Memory in the Flesh’’ telling a love story between an Algerian girl named ‘’Hayat’’ and an Algerian soldier called ‘’Khaled’’ who experienced several issues in a political, economic and social level during the French colonization. Losing Khaled’s arm during the Algerian revolution is another area of consideration. The Champions of the story have met each other within old age almost fifties which add a distinctive flavor to the story as the author mentioned. She described that writing love stories in your fifties seemed to be like a delicious craziness moments similar to your teenage ages.

If we were questing the circumstances for meeting the champions each other, it could be stated that the lovers have met each other in an undeniable moment in an exhibition of art in Paris, at the time ‘’Hayat” was in her forties and ‘’Khaled’’ aged in his fifties. Henceforth, ‘’Khaled’’ fall in love unintentionally. Above all, ‘’Khaled’’ left his country aftermath his shocking from the ethical aspects of the Algerian nations. Meanwhile, ‘’Khaled’’ considered his love to ‘’Hayat’’ as irresistible, precious love as it thrives/compensate his life with the entire elements that he lacked it’s from his country. Resulted, in seeing her as an ideal Algerian girl with virtual ethics.

There is a clear sense of togetherness and solidarity among the lovers due to their sharing of all suffering, wounding during their country colony. Importantly, the novel is mixed between a love story and historical overview which emphasized that the definite possibility to emerge love  in human’s heart with the eruption of war. Undoubtedly, the novel involved rehabilitation dimensioned which resulted in providing a numerous number of critique to some of the social aspects in the Arab region and Algeria mainly. It can be acknowledged that, the novel named by ‘’Memory in the Flesh’’ due to the losing of ‘’Khaled’s’’ hand during the Algerian revolution (Alenizi 2016).

Translated from Arabic into English by Amal Almoualed

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Building in what mentioned above ‘’Memory in the Flesh’’ novel has witnessed the transformation from being merely famous, the successful story in the mood of reading to TV series by customizing real scenario written by the Syrian author ‘’Reem Hanna’’. The is a clear indication that the TV show has scrutinized beyond the profound details and ritual of the Algerian customs and traditions to imitate it due to the high sense of being the boast of the Arabic culture and Arabic language as it exemplified by Mustaganmi writing style (Alghad Newspaper 2016).

Translated from Arabic into English by Amal Almoualed

Available From

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Interestingly and from a personal analysis, Mustaganmi has proved her sense of proudness by selecting the ‘’Arabic language’’ to release her novels. By applying this concept to the content of the story, it’s clearly that the novel involved an apparent influence of the Algerian culture regardless the hegemony of French colonization during that time. Furthermore, Mustaganmi writing style always tends to be fully of emotions and affections with the aim of attracting, influencing the readers, and that’s considered crucially successful from a personal perspective.

Moreover, the style of the outfits of the actors and actress are more likely to be in Arabic Algerian style, the truthfulness and pureness of respecting your partner in love correlation or whatever it was are part of the crucial characteristics of the Algerian society in that time. One of the notable paradox and conflicts in the novel is that depicting the Arabic man through ‘’Khaled’’ as the dominant, authorized, trustable from the Arabic community.

Whereas, the woman always weak, suffering from love invading due to following her affections. Suddenly, the table moved to be upside down by changing ‘’Hayat’’ personality from being vulnerable women to intelligent, manipulative women who can fight for being independent of love torture her.  She was ending up by marrying another man, after socking him for being in correlation with his close friend before his death. Ultimately, Khaled forced himself to forget her and having other relationship with a French girl. But the same consequences won’t enable him to enjoy his love.


  1. Mustaganmi, A., n.d. Original Work. [Online] Ahlam Mustaganmi. Available from:!about-english/c1pfk [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].


  1. ADAB, 2005. A brief of Ahlam Mustaganmi novels. [Online] ADAB. Available from: [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].


  1. Alenizi, F., 2016. Summary of ”Memory in the Flesh” novel. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].


  1. Alghad Newspaper, 2016. Converting ”Memory in the Flesh” from written novel to TV series. [Online] Alghad Newspaper. Available from: [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].


  1. Ibtesamh Magazine, 2016. Ahlam Mustaganmi and Memory in the Flesh! [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].


  1. Jensen, K., 2002. Ahlam Mostaghanemi’s Memory in the Flesh | Al Jadid Magazine. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].


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