This novel tells the story of a modern, educated Islamic Algerian woman, raised in the years of Colonial oppression and the Algerian War, whose older brother was imprisoned in France. She watches her marriage disintegrate in a society intolerant of women, even as she marvels at the closeness of women among themselves at the ritual baths and in other gatherings. Woven into the woman's personal life story is the ancient history of her land, including the loss of its early languages, the massive destruction suffered in wars of conquest, and the quirks of chance which enabled traces to remain. So Vast the Prison is the most ambitious work to date by the woman many consider to be North Africa's most important literary voice. A radically singular voice; a private tale, embedded in a vast tapestry.