In The Pleasure Marriage, Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the epic story of a romance that explores desire and the intolerance for interracial marriage in Moroccan society. Amir is a prosperous merchant based in Fez, where he has a wife and four children. On one of his annual business trips to Senegal, he enters into a “pleasure marriage”—a temporary union permitted by Islamic law—with the alluring Nabou. Overcome by her passion and sensuality, he falls in love, with repercussions for three generations scarred by racism, immigration, and deportation.
Nabou returns to Fez as Amir’s second wife, weathering the jealous cruelty of Lalla Fatma, his first partner. Isolated within her new home, Nabou gives birth to twin sons, one black and one white, who come of age on the opposite sides of racial, social, and political chasms and who chart vastly different courses. The Pleasure Marriage showcases Ben Jelloun’s mastery of metaphor and lyrical narrative as he continues to take us into the worlds of Moroccan culture through his exquisite language and literary genius.