An Unfinished Business by Boualem Sansal

An Unfinished Business

Boualem Sansal

When a man uncovers the facts of his parents’ murder, he finds worse - his German father was a Nazi scientist. Told through the diaries of two brothers - Rachel who records the truth and Malrich, younger and more streetwise, seeking to understand how these revelations fit with his life on a French estate where Islamic extremism reigns – this is a sad, compelling read which epitomises the idea of the sins of the father being visited on the sons.


In his diary, Rachel says that he came back from Algeria a different man. He mentions taking me to lunch in some posh, boring restaurant. I don't remember. He says that was when he decided not to tell me about the massacre, about our parents, about his trip to Algeria and all the secrets he dragged back with him, the whole tragedy going on in his head. He probably thought I was too dumb, too insensitive, that's what he thought about me. Or maybe he was worried the whole thing would send me further off the rails. He wrote some nice things about me, the sort of things you say to people who aren't nice because you know they'll never really understand.

  • Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury

Books with similar mood

Blood Data

Lury. Gibson

The Parisian

Isabella Hammad

A Book of Science and Antiquities

Thomas Keneally

Crystal Wedding

Xu Xiaobin

War and Turpentine

Stefan Hertmans

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

Dirty Work

Gabriel Weston

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone

Sasa Stanisic

Canone Inverso

Paolo Maurensig


Wu Ming

The Snake Stone

Jason Goodwin

Between Mountains

Maggie Helwig

Calling Out For You!

Karin Fossum

The Swallows of Kabul

Yasmina Khadra

The Mariner's Star

Candida Clark

A Mouthful of Glass

Henk van Woerden

The Star Fraction

Ken Macleod

A Particular Kind of Black Man

Tope Folarin

A Stranger City

Linda Grant

Out in the Open

Jesús Carrasco

The Bishop's Man

Linden MacIntyre

The Collaborator

Mirza Waheed


Tony Bianchi

Double Vision

Tricia Sullivan

The Afterglow

Anthony Cartwright

In the Distance

Hernan Diaz

People in the Room

Norah Lange

Our Memory Like Dust

Gavin Chait

Captain of the Steppe

Oleg Pavlov

The Book of Gold Leaves

Mirza Waheed

Man Gone Down

Michael Thomas

When I Forgot

Elina Hirvonen

The Shadow Walker

Michael Walters

Small Days and Nights

Tishani Doshi

Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile

Alice Jolly

A Sense of the Beginning

Norbert Gstrein

The Mussel Feast

Birgit Vanderbeke

The Dinner

Herman Koch

Vault - An Anti-novel

David Rose

This Blinding Absence of Light

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Kith and Kin

Stevie Davies


Alan Garner


Roger Hubank

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Paolo Giordano

Taduno's Song

Odafe Atogun

Alice and the Fly

James Rice

The Blindman's Garden

Nadeem Aslam

Gotz and Meyer

David Albahari

The English Years

Norbert Gstein