Her novels are mostly written in the first person and, with the exception of Avant les hommes (Before the Men), have been said by the author to be works of "auto-fiction". This is even the case for Le Bal des Murènes (The ball of moray eels), which, like Avant les hommes, has a male narrator. Since writing her first novel in 1991, Bouraoui has affirmed the influence of Marguerite Duras in her work, although the life narratives and works many other artists are also to be found in her novels (and songs). This is particularly true of Mes Mauvaises Pensées (My Bad Thoughts) which bears the imprint of Hervé Guibert, Annie Ernaux, David Lynch, Eileen Gray, and Violette Leduc amongst others. Questions of identity, desire, memory, writing, childhood and celebrity culture are some of the major themes of her work.