On the surface of this novel, various members of a Moroccan family recount their versions of the family's experiences under the French Protectorate and since Independence. On a deeper level, the book deals with human memory and how it forms one's experience of the world. Some critics have found the Arabic original to be similar to Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.
Outstanding Moroccan novelist and critic Mohamed Berrada first published Lu'bat al-Nisyan in 1987, and it has since been translated into French and Spanish. Called the first postmodern novel in Arabic, the story is written in such a captivating style that it has become a bestseller in the Arab world.
Apart from its postmodern modes of narration and metafictional structure, the novel has elements of an autobiographical nature. Hadi, his mother, brother and other characters subtly portray the lives experienced by people from various classes and different backgrounds. The narrator and the narrator's narrator take these nuances and struggle with how a story, any story, should be told. Change in Moroccan culture and in the psyche of the main protagonist is painted artfully by the encircling wealth of detail.