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The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Storyby Hanan Al-Shaykh
Synopses & Reviews
“One of the most daring female writers of the Middle East” (San Francisco Chronicle) gives us an extraordinary work of nonfiction: an account of her mother’s remarkable life, at the core of which is a tale of undying love.
In a masterly act of literary transformation, Hanan al-Shaykh re-creates the dramatic life of her mother, Kamila, in Kamila’s own voice. We enter 1930s Beirut through the eyes of the unschooled but irrepressibly spirited nine-year-old child who arrives there from a small village in southern Lebanon. We see her drawn to the excitements of the city, to the thrill of the cinema, and, most powerfully, to Mohammed, the young man who will be the love of her life.
Despite a forced marriage at the age of thirteen to a much older man, despite the two daughters she bears him (one of them the author), despite the scandal and embarrassment she brings to her family, Kamila continues to see Mohammed. Finally, after nearly a decade, her husband gives her a divorce, but she must leave her children behind
The Locust and the Bird is both a tribute to a strong-willed and independent woman and a heartfelt critique of a mother whose decision were unorthodox and often controversial. As the narrative unfolds through the years (Kamila died in 2001) we follow this passionate, strong, demanding, and captivating woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of a life lived to the very fullest.
The true story of the authors mother, forced into an arranged marriage at thirteen to a much older man, but continued to see her true love for ten years despite the scandal and embarrassment to her family in 1930s Beirut.
In a masterly act of literary transformation, celebrated novelist Hanan al-Shaykh re-creates the dramatic life and times of her mother, Kamila.
Married at a young age against her will, Kamila soon fell head-over-heels in love with another man--and was thus forced to choose between her children and her lover. As the narrative unfolds through the years--from the bazaars, cinemas andapartments of 1930s Beirut to its war-torn streets decades later--we follow this passionate woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of a life lived to the veryfullest.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
HANAN AL-SHAYKH was born and raised in Lebanon. Her books include the novels Women of Sand
and Myrrh, The Story of Zahra, Beirut Blues, and Only in London, and a collection of short stories, I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops. She lives in London.
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