A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me

Youssef Fadel

Translated by Jonathan Smolin

Shortlisted for the Arabic Booker

A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me

A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me

Youssef Fadel
Translated by Jonathan Smolin


Spring, 1990. After years of searching in vain, a stranger passes a scrap of paper to Zina. It’s from Aziz: the man who vanished the day after their wedding almost two decades ago.
It propels Zina on a final quest for a secret desert jail in southern Morocco, where her husband crouches in despair, dreaming of his former life.
Fadel pays powerful testament to a terrible period in Morocco’s history, known as ‘the years of cinders and lead,’ and masterfully evokes the suffering inflicted on those who supported the failed coup against King Hassan II in 1972.


"Events progress rapidly and with the acute tension of a detective novel"—Leah Caldwell, The National

"A masterful history of modern Morocco."—BookShy Blog

"[Fadel is] a valued asset of modern Moroccan literature."—Aujourd'hui le Maroc



Youssef Fadel

Award-winning Moroccan novelist and screenwriter Youssef Fadel was born in Casablanca in 1949. During Morocco’s ‘Years of Lead’ he was imprisoned in the notorious Moulay Cherif prison (1974–75). A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me is his ninth novel. He lives in Casablanca, Morocco.

Translator Jonathan Smolin is the author of the critically acclaimed Moroccan Noir: Police, Crime, and Politics in Popular Culture (2013). He lives in Hanover, NH.

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  • April 15th 2016
  • $10.99 / £7.49 /
  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 9781617977206
  • Also available as: Paperback

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