“Breathtaking. Fast-paced storytelling gives way to complex themes and nuanced motives in a conflict and war-torn narrative struck through with humor and hope.
Weaving between Nahr’s life in solitary confinement and her own narration of how she got there, Abulhawa paints an unflinching portrait of one Palestinian woman’s experience (based on the real-life experiences of several women) as a small part of the resistance under Israeli occupation. This is a book rife with displacement and angst, emotional turbulence punctuated with fact-based historical events.”
As Nahr sits, locked away in solitary confinement, she spends her days reflecting on the dramatic events that landed her in prison in a country she barely knows. Born in Kuwait in the 70s to Palestinian refugees, she dreamed of falling in love with the perfect man, raising children, and possibly opening her own beauty salon. Instead, the man she thinks she loves jilts her after a brief marriage, her family teeters on the brink of poverty, she’s forced to prostitute herself, and the US invasion of Iraq makes her a refugee, as her parents had been. After trekking through another temporary home in Jordan, she lands in Palestine, where she finally makes a home, falls in love, and her destiny unfolds under Israeli occupation. Nahr’s subversive humor and moral ambiguity will resonate with fans of My Sister, The Serial Killer, and her dark, contemporary struggle places her as the perfect sister to Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.
Written with Susan Abulhawa’s distinctive “richly detailed, beautiful, and resonant” (Publishers Weekly) prose, this powerful novel presents a searing, darkly funny, and wholly unique portrait of a Palestinian woman who refuses to be a victim.