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Author: Anthony Cummins
Newspaper: The New Statesman
Date: Feb 15 2017

In this reworking of Nineteen Eighty-Four, dystopian England is represented by a North African caliphate, Big Brother by the prophet Bigaye and Winston Smith by Ati. Life in Abistan brings surveillance, suppression of independent thought and the beheading of heretics. However, when Ati returns after a two-year absence he finds there are still citizens on the margins who refuse to submit. Boualem Sansal’s credentials as a controversialist already include the banning of his works in his native Algeria and endorsement by Michel Houellebecq; this potent satire on totalitarianism will burnish them further.