It is the year 2084. In the kingdom of Abistan— named messenger of the god Yolah— citizens submit to a single god, demonstrating their devotion by kneeling in prayer nine times a day. Autonomous thought has been banned, remembering is forbidden, and an omnipresent surveillance system instantly informs the authorities of every deviant act, thought, or idea. The kingdom is blessed and its citizens are happy, filled with a sense of purpose and piety. Those who are not—the heretics—are put to death by stoning or beheading in city squares. But Ati has met people who think differently; in ghettos and caves, hidden from the authorities and their ubiquitous surveillance, exist the last living free-thinkers of Abistan. Under their influence, Ati begins to doubt. He begins to think. Now, he must defend his thoughts with his life.
“[In 2084] Sansal dared to go much further than I did,” said Michel Houellebecq, the controversial author of Submission. 2084 is a cry of freedom, a call to rebellion, a gripping satirical novel of ideas, and an indictment of the religious fundamentalism that, with its hypocrisy and closedmindeness, threatens our modern democracies and the ideals on which they are founded.
Boualem Sansal is the Arab world’s most courageous and controversial novelist. His first novel to appear in English (An Unfinished Business/The German Mujahid, Bloomsbury/Europa) was the first work of fiction by an Arab writer to acknowledge the Holocaust in print. He started writing novels at the age of 50, shortly after retiring as a high-ranking official in the Algerian government. He was awarded the prestigious Prix du Roman Arabe in 2012, and the German Peace Prize in 2011.