Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Last One by Fatima Daas


Situated at the intersection of religion and sexuality, THE LAST ONE marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in literature.
Written in short, diary-like chapters that each begin with the invocation, “My name is Fatima,” THE LAST ONE pulses with a poetic rhythm as the narrator reflects on her relationship with her strict Muslim Algerian family, boisterous childhood friends, and women she dated on her path to accepting her queer identity. 
Short yet richly detailed, this tenderly wrought debut, perfect for fans of Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends and Zaina Arafat’s You Exist Too Much, explores what it means to be yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.

By Fatima Daas •
Translated by Lara Vergnaud
Other Press Paperback Original
On-Sale Date: November 23, 2021 



“In this award-winning autofiction, the youngest daughter of Algerian immigrants living in a majority-Muslim suburb near Paris repeatedly proclaims ‘I am Fatima’ as she sorts out her identity as French, Muslim, Algerian, and lesbian in absorbing, rapid-fire prose.”—LIBRARY JOURNAL

“French writer Daas debuts with a frank and fervent work of autofiction about a woman’s attempts at integrating her clashing religion and sexuality… Fatima’s sustained ambivalence is realistically conveyed through repetitions of ‘My name is Fatima,’ followed by descriptive passages such as, ‘a girl who isn’t really a girl, who isn’t Algerian or French, who isn’t from Clichy or Paris, a Muslim I think, but not a good Muslim, a lesbian whose homophobia is built into her.’ …a provocative exercise.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“The Last One is a mesmerizing, semiautobiographical novel about the meanings of identity, family, and sexuality…there’s depth and substance in [Fatima’s] struggles to find paths toward internal and external acceptance. The novel reads like bursts of reportage, with each chapter beginning with declarative personal statements, akin to incantations…In each chapter, Fatima makes discoveries about who she wants to be to herself, her friends, and her family. These revelations about her identities transform as she oscillates between pleasing herself and pleasing her family and her faith. Fatima states facts about herself as if she’s addressing herself and another in an intimate setting. Woven throughout the novel are rich etymologies, folklore, and religious beliefs. The straightforward style is accentuated by the repetition of biographical information and the nuanced changes in the history of her identity. Fatima’s fears and desires impact her relationships as she grapples with her truths. The structure is taut, showcasing the passage of time and Fatima’s shifting identities. The Last One is a fresh addition to queer fiction—a deep and original debut novel featuring a Muslim lesbian who is looking for acceptance and belonging.”—FOREWORD REVIEWS, Starred Review

“… [Daas is] hailed as the voice of a new generation…poetic, straight-talking and often comic…The musical quality of the novel is key – the story races along with the pace of a song or a poem…Daas’s overriding message is that you don’t have to give up any part of yourself: you can inhabit a host of seemingly clashing identities at once.”—THE GUARDIAN

“The Last One is a thoughtful examination of a character who deeply wants to be known despite lacking the tools to do any of that self-excavation. The work is tender and sweet, lyrically built, and reprises itself in fascinating ways. Who are we apart from our family? Can we face ourselves? Can we love? Fatima Daas asks these questions the way many of us do: plaintively, longingly, and with a tremendous amount of heart.”—Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth and the New York Times bestseller Mostly Dead Things

“Fatima Daas’s monologue is constructed by fragments, as though she were updating Barthes and Mauriac for Clichy-sous-Bois. She carves out a portrait, like a patient, attentive sculptor…or like a mine searcher, aware that each word could make everything explode, and you have to choose them with infinite care.”—Virginie Despentes, author of the Man Booker International Prize-Shortlisted “Vernon Subutex” Trilogy

“In The Last One, Fatima Daas uses words like bold and vivid brush strokes, exploring identity through lyricism. I tore through this incredible work of art in one sitting, but I often took a moment to catch my breath and admire the defiant beauty at the heart of this book.”
—Abdi Nazemian, author of Stonewall Honor Book Like a Love Story


“The novel, comprised of vignettes and fragmented memories, is coalesced by Fatima’s attempt to comprehend, or perhaps mend, the conflicting multiplicity of her self—queer, Muslim, Algerian-French, woman. Each scene opens in a diary-like manner: ‘My name is Fatima,’ followed by a personal fact—sometimes trivial, such as the consequence of her naming or her like/dislike for commuting—and other times, a profound reflective statement: ‘I regret that no one taught me how to love’. The entire book charts her pilgrimage of probing about in the study of love, of creating and maintaining meaningful and intimate relationships with other people, with God, or with herself. All of this is interlaced with disparate interpretations of cultures and languages, often governed by paternalistic attitudes…Vergnaud’s translation deftly handles these tender, delicate vignettes, and honours the intercalation of Arabic words and wordplay that Daas interweaves in her spare narrative…like the most vivid traits of memory, select specifics are emphasised in further relief, brought to attention in a deliciously concise style of writing…The Last One is a novel that challenges what constitutes faith and its validity, between society’s shared meaning and love in all its variant forms—the interdisciplinary and complex nature of love as subject, explored in mental and physical wellbeing, religious faith, sexuality, romance, parenting, and childhood. In dislodging taboo and its simplistic designations, it grapples instead with the multiplicity of our identity, exploring the full range of how we may fight to find meaning in the fragmented nature of life.”—ASYMPTOTE JOURNAL BLOG

“Fatima Daas’ debut novel signals the presence of an exciting voice that commands attention and insists on complexity. Whether she is unpacking family ties or tracing the ways queerness dovetails with other identities, Daas stops you in your tracks with what seems like a quiet symphony until you realize it is in fact a crescendo of what it means to be human.”
—Mona Eltahawy, author of The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls  

“Daas explores multifaceted identity through achronological slices of life, arrayed like glittering shards of a fractured mirror. An extraordinary debut novel you’ll never forget.”—Forsyth Harmon, author of Justine

“Whether dealing with chronic illness, sexuality, therapy, education, faith, friendship, family, romance, or riding the bus, Fatima Daas’ The Last One takes on the world with honesty, humor, and lyricism. The specificity of life in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois underscores universal themes and utterly recognizable emotions. Daas bares her narrator’s soul, and we can’t look away.”—Eman Quotah, author of Bride of the Sea

“An absorbing exploration of sexuality and religion in the mainly Muslim Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, Daas’s debut is a nuanced tale of finding one’s place in the world fired by a desire to belong forged in one’s own truth.”—THE NEW EUROPEAN

“…A key feature of Fatima Daas' outstanding literary style is limiting herself to straightforward statements and simple sentences. She distributes her pieces of information so cleverly that the text remains engaging and open at every point…Daas has written a novel that – in a piercing, insistent rhythm, but not without poetic qualities – describes the life of a young woman whose feelings lurch between doubt and aversion but who also discovers her own potential for great passion. The result is a refreshingly topical portrait rendered beautifully from the original French…The clear, concise sentences allow us as readers to sense the protagonist’s inner turmoil on each and every page and keep us in suspense until the very end.”–QANTARA.DE

“Haunting and sorrowful, Fatima Daas’s The Last One is a masterpiece of autofiction unlike anything you have read before. Told in short chapters with skillfully executed repetition that quickly pulls the reader into Fatima’s story, the book slowly uncovers the life of one queer Muslim woman in a style so lyrical and rich with rhythm that it feels almost like poetry. Like peeling away the petals of a flower, the novel flits between the narrator’s childhood in her French-Algerian home, her complex relationship to her family, and her increasing struggle to reconcile her religion and her queerness, with each vignette bringing the reader closer to understanding the truth of Fatima Daas. The Last One will captivate readers who enjoy unflinching explorations of character and self and aren’t intimidated by an intense reading experience…undisputedly a novel of masterful skill, a snapshot that captures the infinite complexity and nuance of human emotion and will grip the reader until the final page.”—TEEN INK

“The Last One by Fatima Daas is an ambitious work of autofiction…The dynamics of Islam and how her name has been inherited are very compelling within her prose…Daas’s work has continued to enchant, and her warm welcome into the French literary establishment signifies that they are seeing what many others know to be true: Daas is a writer willing to step into the light.”—FAR SIDE REVIEW

“The Last One is a bombshell that examines the question of identity with subtlety and passion.”—ELLE (FRANCE)

“A rhythm that pulses, sentences that crack, chapters like a chant… The furiously contemporary voice that we were hoping for.”



Drawn from Daas’ memories of growing up in a Paris banlieue (suburb), THE LAST ONE has the frenetic energy of a cinema verité masterpiece. As the youngest of three sisters—the book’s title references Fatima’s place in the birth order—Daas’ fictionalized counterpart is viewed as a proxy for the son her parents never had.
Named for “a sacred figure in Islam,” Fatima describes episodes from her tomboyish adolescence and young adulthood, from performing an Islamic ritual purification, to sharing her first kiss with a girl on a school trip, to attending therapy.
Through her recollections, Fatima contends with romantic heartbreak, familial tension, and the ways in which her conflicting identities—French, Algerian, Muslim, and lesbian—both clash and coalesce.
Already a bestseller in France, THE LAST ONE is a singular addition to the LGBTQ+ literary canon. With vivid details and candid observations, Daas has crafted a rapidly paced coming-of-age story relatable to anyone who has ever felt out of place.



The Author: Fatima Daas was born in 1995 and grew up in Clichy-sous-Bois, France, where her parents settled after arriving from Algeria. In high school Daas participated in writing workshops led by Tanguy Viel. Influenced by Marguerite Duras and Virginie Despentes, she defines herself as an intersectional feminist. Her debut novel, The Last One, has sold more than ten thousand copies in France and has been translated into numerous languages.

The Translator: Lara Vergnaud is a translator of prose, creative nonfiction, and scholarly works from the French. She is the recipient of two PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants and a French Voices Grand Prize, and has been nominated for the National Translation Award. She lives in Washington, DC.



  1. I like the meaning of the title….clever.

    I am at the top of the sibling chain in my family. :)

    Thanks for stopping.