Couscous with Tata Hannah by Huguette Zerbib – A personal memoir of life in a small Algerian town.
Recently, Huguette’s granddaughter asked her: “Grand’mère, what is our background?” This volume could be seen as an answer to that question.
“Couscous with Tata Hannah” is a memoir of a largely vanished world and of Jewish North Africa. Memory and storytelling are central to Jewish life and the writings incorporate the author’s personal experiences followed by anecdotes about an older generation, orally passed down by her aging mother.
The compilation of episodes and stories form a tapestry rich in colours, sounds and smells, conveying an atmosphere and climate of a time and place where Christians, Jews and Arabs lived and worked side by side under the one universally acknowledged benefactor: the sun, shining equally on rich and poor over their beautiful land.
It has previously only been available as an e-book, but is now published as a paperback, with photographs, by Dubois Publishing.
Reviews for Couscous With Tata Hannah
“Couscous with Tata Hannah is a wonderful read. It takes the reader to a different place and time, bringing Jewish North Africa to life through the eyes of the feisty author. It is delightful, entertaining, informative, and there is so much to resonate with, although the stories are based on events from long ago. Huguette Zerbib has an unusual and distinctive voice, and she stays in character with the little girl who slowly grows in understanding as the stories unfold. It took me to an exotic place, and I simply loved it.” – Harville – Five star review on Amazon (Oct 2019)
“Beautifully written, Couscous with Tata Hannah is a series of fascinating and amusing tales of the author’s life and family in Jewish North Africa – and, later, when they moved to France having effectively been forced out of Algeria. The style of writing is engaging, and viewing the author’s world through her eyes as a child is what really grabbed me. Tata Hannah (the author’s Aunt Hannah) has an interesting mix of characteristics. In getting to know her over the final chapters of the book, and her inability to adapt to the lives of family members and the Parisian lifestyle, I felt sympathy sprinkled with frustration. The final chapter works so well because we have, as readers, had sufficient insight into what Tata Hannah held most dear to appreciate the humour of the end. A lovely book.” – Marcie – Five star review on Amazon (Oct 2019)
“This delightful little book is a joy to read. What I seek in a book is the ability to lose myself in it , and this beautifully written book allows complete immersion, evoking a largely vanished lyrical world of sunlit days and of a happy childhood lived in a small Algerian town in the 1930s.” – Mr. David W. Chadwick – Five star review on Amazon (Dec 2020)