The Last Friend

A Novel

From the winner of the 2004 Impac Prize, a classic story of friendship and betrayal

“A profound and moving novel.” —Le Monde

The Last Friend, the new novel from internationally acclaimed author Tahar Ben Jelloun, winner of the 2004 International Dublin/IMPAC award, is a Rashamon-like tale of friendship and betrayal set in twentieth century Tangier. Written in Ben Jelloun’s inimitable and powerfully direct style, the novel explores the twists and turns of an intense thirty-year friendship between two young men struggling to find their identities and sexual fulfillment in Morocco in the late 1950s, a complex and contradictory society both modern and archaic.

From their carefree university days through their brutal imprisonment and ultimate release, the two rely on each other for physical and psychological survival, forging bonds not easily broken. Each narrator tells his version of the story, painting a vivid portrait of life lived within and in opposition to the moral strictures of North Africa.

Set against a backdrop of repression and disillusionment, The Last Friend is a tale of loss of innocence and a nation’s coming of age.



“Perfectly captures and explains the human condition.”
Le Nouvel Observateur
“What Ben Jelloun does brilliantly is write with a kind of refreshing candor that demystifies the Arab world.”
Paris Voice
“A seductive, lyrical novel exploring the seeming betrayal of a lifelong friendship.”
French Book News

Books by Tahar Ben Jelloun


Tahar Ben Jelloun

Islam Explained

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This Blinding Absence of Light
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Goodreads Reviews