The novel’s protagonist, an elderly Algerian man. Harun narrates the novel to the young interlocutor; he revisits his entire life, from his days as a young boy traumatized by his older brother Musa’s… read analysis of Harun
Harun’s older brother, murdered during Harun’s childhood by Meursault, a French settler. During his lifetime, Musa is the head of the family, providing for Mama and Harun after his father abandons them; thus… read analysis of Musa
Harun’s and Musa’s mother. A poor and uneducated woman, Mama conceives of herself primarily in relation to her sons and the boys’ father. In the wake of her husband’s abandonment and Musa’s… read analysis of Mama
The antagonist of the novel, a French settler who murders Musa and evades punishment, eventually returning to France. Eventually, Meriem introduces Harun to a famous novel Meursault has written about his life in Algeria, in… read analysis of Meursault
A young student who has sought out Harun and wants to hear his story about Musa. The two frequently meet at Harun’s favorite bar. Little information is given about the interlocutor, and this purposeful… read analysis of The Interlocutor
The Bottle Ghost
A man Harun frequently sees at the bar where he spends most of his nights, as well as many of his meetings with the interlocutor. The ghost devotes himself to cutting and arranging various… read analysis of The Bottle Ghost
Joseph / The Frenchman
A young Frenchman and friend of the Larquais family, Mama’s employers in Hadjout. After the War of Liberation, Joseph sneaks into the Larquais’ garden to take refuge, whereupon Mama orders Harun to… read analysis of Joseph / The Frenchman
A young woman, whom Harun and Mama notice watching them as they prepare to leave Algiers after Musa’s death. Harun comes to believe that she was Musa’s clandestine girlfriend, and that she is called… read analysis of Zubida
An Algerian army officer who questions Harun about murdering Joseph but never punishes him. The officer is extremely devoted to the cause of Algerian liberation, and he’s both disappointed in and suspicious of Harun’s decision… read analysis of The Officer
The Larquais Family
A family of French settlers who employ Mama as their housekeeper in Hadjout. When they flee the country after Independence, Mama claims their house for herself and Harun. Joseph, the French settler whom Harun eventually murders in retribution for Musa’s death, is a friend of the Larquais family.
Harun and Musa’s father and Mama’s estranged husband, who abandoned his family when they were very young.
One of Musa’s friends.