Translated by Emma Ramadan
Paris, summer of 2010. Zahira is a Moroccan prostitute late in her career whose generosity is her way of defying her humiliation and misery. Her friend Aziz, a male prostitute, admires her and emulates her. Aziz is transitioning from his past as a man into the womanhood of his future, and asks Zahira to help him choose a name for himself as a woman. Motjaba is an Iranian revolutionary, a refugee in Paris, a gay man fleeing his country at the end of his rope, who finds refuge for a few days with Zahira. And then there is Allal, Zahira's first love, who comes to Paris years later to save their love.
The world of Abdellah Taia's A Country for Dying is a world of dreamers, of lovers, for whom the price of dreaming is one they must pay with their flesh. Writes Taïa, "So many people find themselves in the same situation. It is our destiny: To pay with our bodies for other people's future."