Driss Chraïbi was bon in El Jadida (formerly Mazagan, French Morocco), a town near Casablanca. His father was a tea merchant, who perceived Western education as a means to modern Morocco. Chraïbi attended Koranic school as a young boy. When the family moved to Casablanca, Chraïbi continued his studies at the French Lycée. At age of nineteen he went to France planning study chemical engineering and neuropsychiatry. After abandoning his studies, he traveled throughout Europe and Israel. Chraïbi settled in France with his first wife and children, and eventually devoted himself in 1952 to literature and journalism. In 1954 Chraïbi began writing for the National Radio and Television Broadcasting System. In 1978 he married Sheena McCalliion. From his first marriage he had five children. Chaïbi taught in Canada for a year after his second divorce but returned then to France. Chraïbi's works have been translated into English, Arabic, Italian, German, and Russian. Chraïbi remained in France until his death. He died on April 2, 2007, in the village of Crest, where he had lived since the mid-1980s. His body was brought back to Morocco and buried in in the Cimetière des Chouhada in Casablanca.
As a novelist Chraïbi made his debut with Le Passé simple (The Simple Past), which was published in 1954, two years before Morocco gained its independence. The book arose much controversy because of the inflammable political situation in the North Africa. Chraïbi was criticized as a traitor to the Arab world and French conservatives saw that the book revealed the reason for French presence in Morocco. The protagonist in the novel is a young man, Driss, who revolts against his tyrannical Moslem father. The father banishes Driss from the home and Driss begins his wandering on the streets. Finally he returns to home only to find that his mother has committed suicide in his absence. The novel ends with Driss's departure for France. Driss is an outsider in his own country, oppressed by...
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