Th%C3%A9r%C3%A8se Soukar Chehade. Syracuse Univ., $19.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-0-8156-0982-7
Set against the stark backdrop of a brutal New England blizzard, the characters of Chehade's debut novel are utterly isolated, less because of their foreign origins (they're Lebanese) than because of their alienation from any society, even their own. Emilie Zaydan, the family's matriarch, stopped speaking to her children three years ago, so lost is she in troubling memories. Her spinster daughter Josephine shares no intimacy with her brother, who barely tolerates his wife, who now distrusts and resents her husband. Their daughter, Marie, can't wait to move west, in hopes of keeping the "Lebanese part" from "butting its nose into my American business." The Zaydans' utter self-exile has frozen them solid, yet two events promise to crack their resolve: Eva, Emilie's estranged niece, is due to arrive any moment from Beirut, with baggage; and David, a mysterious neighbor that Josephine and Marie call Loom, opens his home to the Zaydans as the blizzard threatens Emilie's life. Trapped in his own suffering, Loom has spent the winter building an igloo, but the Zaydans interrupt this project, reintroducing everyone to the messiness of connecting with others. An expansive and beautiful new storyteller, Chehade tightly binds personal experience with the universal desire to belong, effortlessly weaving a dense tapestry of loneliness and regret. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 195 pages - 978-0-8156-5067-6
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