Street of Thieves

By Mathias Enard, translated by Charlotte Mandell

Available from Open Letter


Exiled from his family for religious transgressions related to his feelings for his cousin, Lakhdar finds himself on the streets of Barcelona hiding from both the police and the Muslim Group for the Propagation of Koranic Thoughts, a group he worked for in Tangier not long after being thrown out on the streets by his father.

Lakhdar’s transformations—from a boy into a man, from a devout Muslim into a sinner—take place against some of the most important events of the past few years: the violence and exciting eruption of the Arab Spring and the devastating collapse of Europe’s economy.

If all of that isn’t enough, Lakhdar reunites with a childhood friend—one who is planning an assassination, a murder Lakhdar opposes. A finalist for the prestigious Prix Goncourt, Street of Thieves solidifies Énard’s place as one of France’s most ambitious and keyed-in contemporary novelists. This book may even surpass Énard’s earlier work, Zone, which Christophe Claro boldly declared to be “the novel of the decade, if not of the century.” 

Mathias Énard studied Persian and Arabic and spent long periods in the Middle East. A professor of Arabic at the University of Barcelona, he received several awards for Zone—also available from Open Letter—including the Prix du Livre Inter and the Prix Décembre.