Cinnamon

Samar Yazbek, trans. from the Arabic by Emily Danby. Haus/Arabia (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-906697-43-3
There’s a pulsing vitality to the lives of the characters, despite their brutal circumstances, in this compelling novel by PEN Pinter Prize–winning Syrian author Yazbek. Hanan is a wealthy woman living in a beautiful house with her husband, Anwar, who disgusts her physically to the point that she thinks of him as a “decrepit crocodile.” To escape him, Hanan finds comfort in other women, including Aliyah, her maid, whose father left her at Hanan’s house seven years before and never returned. A young girl at the time, Aliyah had already witnessed and experienced tremendous violence and abuse. There is less bloodshed outside of her impoverished neighborhood, but abuse seems to be an unbreakable thread in the fabric of her life. When Aliyah reproaches herself that she deserves what has befallen her, her immense strength of will makes her optimistic about transcending those traumatic events. The richly described inner lives of the two main female characters, the sense of place, and the details of their surroundings more than make up for the repetition and lack of structure. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
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Ebook - 226 pages - 978-1-906697-44-0
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