Book Review – What The Day Owes The Night by Yasmina Khadra

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What The Day Owes The Night is the book I started my 2019 challenge with. If you want to know more about the challenge, do read this post. In summary, I challenged myself to read books from 30 African countries this year and elated that I started with What The Day Owes The Night. I started with a book by an Algerian author. What The Day Owes The Night is written by Yasmina Khadra which is actually a pen name for Mohammed Moulessehoul an Algerian army officer who used the nom de plume to avoid military censorship.


If you want your life to be a small part of eternity, to be lucid even in the heart of madness, love… Love with all your strength, love as though it is all you know how to do, love enough to make the gods themselves jealous… for it is in love that all ugliness reveals its beauty

In the beginning, What The Day Owes The Night captures you with an immersing tale of poverty and its relatives. Told by Younes, he takes us through his life from growing up under several disappointments encountered by his father to their transition to Oran where they are further immersed in squalour and wretchedness.

Later renamed Jonas, his father left him in care of his well to-do uncle which makes him experience a complete turn around. The strangeness of the new life welcomes him to new events, and he struggles to adapt to the change.

This is a book to be experienced. It is a book about various things. It is about survival, friendship,love, betrayal, war, discrimination. It can be mysterious. It is a book on various aspects and stages in life.


Eyelids are secret doors; closed they tell us stories, open they look out on to ourselves

It took me the longest to actually read this book but when I did, I was enthralled. The beginning of the book hit me and it was hard to put down.

What The Day Owes The Night is not a book for convenience, it is everything you did not predict it to be but honestly, the writing is powerful.

It got exhausting at a point and I felt it dragged unnecessarily, I also felt some part of Younes’ life should have been included.

I must say that the author writes beautifully. His poetic words were what sustained me when I felt the book was dragging at a point. Yasmina Khadra can describe the tiniest things in words that will make such thing have more relevance. I see why he was highly recommended.


Yes, totally. It is a 3.5/5 for me. I look forward to reading more books by Yasmina Khadra.


Title: What The Day Owes The Night 

Author: Yasmina Khadra

Publisher: Vintage Books

Translated from French by Frank Wynne

Source: Bought from Streem Books

Pages: 396 pages


As a boy Younes’ life is irrevocably changed when he leaves his broken home in the Algerian countryside for the colourful and affluent European district of Río Salado. Renamed Jonas, he begins a new life and forges a unique friendship with a group of boys, an enduring bond that nothing – not even the Algerian Revolt – will shake.Yet with the return to Río Salado of Emilie – a beautiful, beguiling girl who captures the hearts of all who see her – an epic love story is set in motion that will challenge the bond between the four friends and force Jonas to choose between two worlds: Algerian or European; past or present; and at last decide if he will surrender to fate or take control of his own destiny.

Learn about Algeria

Flag of Algeria

Photo Credit: Flag Shop

Algeria is officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

Demonym: Algerian

Capital: Algiers

Motto: By the people and for the people

Region: North Africa

Currency: Algerian Dinar (DZD)

Official Languages: Arabic, Tamazight (Berber)

Algiers is the most populous city in Algeria. Algeria has an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi) and is  the tenth-largest country in the world, the world’s largest Arab country, and the largest in Africa.

Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. (Source: Wikipedia)

What The Day Owes The Night by Yasmina Khadra

1 Comment

  1. Mosunmola says:

    Beautiful summary dear!
    Getting to read books from other African country is you having a taste or experience of other African countries. Way to go!

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