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A Sky so Close: A Novelby Betool Khedairi
Synopses & Reviews
This haunting coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in wartime Iraq was the subject of heated controversy when it was published in the Middle East; now in English, it offers American readers a rare chance toexperience an Iraqi childhood.
The frank, determined narrator is a schoolgirl living in a small town in the Iraqi countryside when the book opens. Torn between the cultures of her parents, she loves the simplepleasures of provincial life in her father's native land but, at the urging of her English mother, she is thrown into the study of Western music and ballet and becomes a devoted dancer by the time the familyrelocates to Baghdad. Even as the city around her is transformed by the blackouts and
deprivations of the war between Iran and Iraq, she propels herself passionately through the full range of teenage discovery.The death of her father, her first love affair, and her mother's unexpected illness carry her into adulthood and ultimately to London, where she confronts, with surprising results, the other half of herEast-West legacy.
A Sky So Close is a captivating look at contemporary Iraq from the inside out-a stunning re-creation of the surreality of life during wartime, andthe story of a young woman coming to terms with the seemingly unbridgeable cultures from which she is formed.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this elegant, incisive debut, a young girl comes of age while aching for a sense of belonging. Daughter of an Iraqi father and an English mother, the unnamed narrator struggles with isolation both in the traditional Iraqi countryside where she’s raised and at the Western school of music and ballet that her mother insists she attend. Though she finds some semblance of solace in dance, her trials increase when her family moves to Baghdad. Then comes the outbreak of war, which compels her to move with her mother to England, where her most pointed heartaches await. Gently poetic but emotionally unflinching, A Sky So Close is a daringly fresh look into the clash between East and West and into the soul of a woman formed by two cultures yet fully accepted by neither.
Betool Khedairi was born in Baghdad in 1965 to an Iraqi father and a Scottish mother. She received a B.A. in French literature from the University of Mustansirya and then traveled between Iraq, Jordan, and the United Kingdom, working in the food industry while writing A Sky So Close, which was published in Arabic in Lebanon in 1999. She currently lives in Amman, where she is working on her second novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
\Betool Khedairi lives in Amman, Jordan.
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