Synopses & Reviews
NIDALI, THE REBELLIOUS DAUGHTER OF AN EGYPTIAN-GREEK mother and a Palestinian father, narrates her story from her childhood in Kuwait, her early teenage years in Egypt (to where she and her family fled the 1990 Iraqi invasion), to her family's last flight to Texas. Nidali mixes humor with a loving and vibrant celebration of an eccentric middle-class family in the Arab world, and this perspective keeps her buoyant through the hardships she encounters: the humiliation of going through a checkpoint on a visit to her father's home on the West Bank; the fights with her father, who wants her to become a famous professor and stay away from boys; the end of her childhood as Iraq invades Kuwait on her thirteenth birthday; and the scare she gives her family when she runs away from home. Funny, charming, and heartbreaking, A Map of Home is the kind of book Tristam Shandy or Huck Finn would have narrated had they been born Egyptian-Palestinian and female in the 1970s.
" [An] extraordinary debut . . . Jarrar's lack of sentimentality, and her wry sense of humor, make Home a treasure."
-People (four stars)
"A Map of Home will leave you laughing out loud."
"Randa Jarrar takes all the sappy, beloved clichTs about 'where you hang your hat' and blows them to smithereens in her energizing, caustically comic debut novel."
-The Christian Science Monitor
From America to the Middle East and back again— the sparkling story of one girl’s childhood, by an exciting new voice in literary fiction
In this fresh, funny, and fearless debut novel, Randa Jarrar chronicles the coming-of-age of Nidali, one of the most unique and irrepressible narrators in contemporary fiction. Born in 1970s Boston to an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, the rebellious Nidali—whose name is a feminization of the word “struggle”—soon moves to a very different life in Kuwait. There the family leads a mildly eccentric middle-class existence until the Iraqi invasion drives them first to Egypt and then to Texas. This critically acclaimed debut novel is set to capture the hearts of everyone who has ever wondered what their own map of home might look like.
Read Randa Jarrar's posts on the Penguin Blog.
Nidali, the rebellious daughter of an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, narrates her story from her childhood in Kuwait, her early teenage years in Egypt, to her family's last flight to Texas.
About the Author
Randa Jarrar was born in Chicago in 1978. She grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and moved back to the U.S. at thirteen. She is a writer and translator whose honors include the Million Writers Award, the Avery Hopwood and Jule Hopwood Award and the Geoffrey James Gosling Prize. Her fiction has appeared in Ploughshares as well as in numerous journals and anthologies. Her translations from the Arabic have appeared in Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers; recently, she translated Hassan Daoud’s novel, The Year of the Revolutionary New Bread-Making Machine. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A Map of Home is her first novel.