A furious and beautiful book from an internationally bestselling author of formidable standing - on sex and power, persecution and resistance
Nahr has been confined to the Cube: nine square metres of glossy grey cinderblock, devoid of time, its patterns of light and dark nothing to do with day and night. Journalists visit her, but get nowhere; because Nahr is not going to share her story with them.
The world outside calls Nahr a terrorist, and a whore; some might call her a revolutionary, or a hero. But the truth is, Nahr has always been many things, and had many names.
She was a girl who learned, early and painfully, that when you are a second class citizen love is a kind of desperation; she learned, above all else, to survive.
She was a girl who went to Palestine in the wrong shoes, and without looking for it found what she had always lacked in the basement of a battered beauty parlour: purpose, politics, friends. She found a dark-eyed man called Bilal, who taught her to resist; who tried to save her when it was already too late.
Nahr sits in the Cube, and tells her story to Bilal. Bilal, who isn't there; Bilal, who may not even be alive, but who is her only reason to get out.
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (5 Aug. 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1526618818
ISBN-13 : 978-1526618818
Dimensions : 19.7 x 2.7 x 12.9 cm
Customer reviews: 4.6 4.6 out of 5 stars 1,018 ratings
A thrilling, defiant novel ... Reads as a riot act against oppression, misogyny, and shame -- FATIMA BHUTTO
Abulhawa's novel is a love story ... She elegantly crafts a world where the tension between desire and survival is laid bare ― New Yorker
A powerful and subversive story of trauma and survival for fans of My Sister, The Serial Killer and Her Body and Other Parties ― The Millions
Susan Abulhawa has reached greater heights with her new and courageous novel. Wide in its scope and breadth it is a lively, exciting book that is difficult to put down. The work of a seasoned, accomplished writer, this is a bold and dazzling work which is sure to arouse controversy
-- RAJA SHEHADAH
Nahr is a wonderful creation, strong-willed, passionate, unapologetic and adventurous. Her refusal to accept the subordination expected of her propels the story at a thrilling pace. Her determination to find love in a loveless world and her unquenchable spirit in adversity shines a ray of hope into some very dark places -- MICHAEL PALIN
A fearless work of imagination and documentary gathering power and depth as it sweeps along -- AHDAF SOUEIF
A masterpiece ... Forces us to wrestle with the complexities of love, freedom, struggle, and shame in ways that both inspire and challenge our very conceptions of what it means to be human. A major literary contribution that further cements Abulhawa's status as one of the most important writers of our generation -- MARC LAMONT HILL
The writer's pain - and the beauty of her prose - are very real ― Daily Telegraph
One of the most thought-provoking books I've read ... written with passion and honesty, and poetry ― Daily Mail
Abulhawa's writing shines ... Friendship, adolescence, love: ordinary events, offset against extraordinary circumstances, make the story live ― Independent
Hard to bear but impossible to ignore . Shows how history's assault on each person is public, and how it nevertheless cannot extinguish the private experience of grief or the secret sense of eros. Abulhawa's vision is precise, courageous, and dazzling -- Teju Cole
In true Thousand and One Nights style, Abulhawa surprises us by continually unfolding new stories . Characters struggle to keep their secrets, but Abulhawa releases them. These are secrets we need to know, secrets that will educate us about ourselves ― Guardian
A transformative literary grace. Abulhawa's prose is luminous ― Independent on Sunday
A fine observer of female kinship ... A powerful read ― Financial Times
A family saga with global reach, these stories jump off the page and into the soul and reach far beyond any headline or statistic, past the head, to the heart -- Laleh Khadivi
A giant step in the development of Palestinian fiction. The book is a great feat of imagination and storytelling ― Raja Shehadeh
Readers . are sure to be charmed by Abulhawa's glittering language and to remember (and love) the characters long after the book has ended ― Washington Independent Review of Books
Powerful and moving ― Stylist
About the Author
Susan Abulhawa was born to Palestinian refugees of the 1967 war. Currently living in Pennsylvania with her daughter, she is a human rights activist and frequent political commentator. She is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an organization dedicated to upholding Palestinian children's Right to Play. Her first novel, Mornings in Jenin, was an international bestseller, with rights sold in twenty-six languages. Along with The Blue Between Sky and Water, she is most recently the author of Against the Loveless World, a finalist for the Aspen Words Prize and winner of the 2021 Palestine Book Award and the 2021 Arab American Book Award.
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