Ben Kader, a Nebulous and Painful Identity

22 August 2010
The Editions de l’Aire will soon be publishing a French translation of Zurich author Daniel Groetsch’s novel Ben Kader. The novel shifts between Algiers in 1957 and Zurich in 2001, and explores the contrasts between father and son, adopted and assumed identities, Eastern and Western cultures, Islam and Christianity.
Ben Kader himself is believed to be Arab during the Algerian War of Independence; however, he is in reality descended from an immigrant Armenian family. His son in today’s Zurich is derided by a travel agent as “not a real Swiss… he didn’t really feel like he had the same culture as us, he was lacking something like an identity.” A book that juxtaposes two characters and two worlds with one question: who am I?