Against the Loveless World

Susan Abulhawa. Atria, $27 (376p) ISBN 978-1-982137-03-8
Abulhawa (The Blue Between Sky and Water) charts a Palestinian woman’s gradual turn to sex work followed by violent resistance against Israeli settlers in this tragic and engrossing work. Middle-aged Nahr, the narrator, is in solitary confinement at an Israeli prison, where she recounts her life story. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian exiles in 1967 and named Yaqoot after her father’s mistress, Nahr grows up with her mother, brother Jehad, and overbearing paternal grandmother. In 1985, she marries the gruff Mhammad, who abandons her two years later. Shortly after, Nahr meets a woman at a friend’s wedding, who manipulates her into prostitution, which Nahr continues doing to help finance Jehad’s education. When anti-Palestinian sentiment ramps up following the expulsion of the invading Iraqis in 1991, Jehad is arrested and tortured for collaboration, and the family flees to Jordan. The 1995 Oslo Accords allow Nahr to travel to Palestine and secure a divorce from Mhammad, and there she witnesses the injustices levied against Palestinians and joins in escalating acts of resistance until the eruption of the Second Intifada leads to serious danger. Abulhawa demonstrates the effect of trauma and helplessness on Nahr and others, leading them to violence. The detailed explorations of a woman’s pain and desperate measures make this lush story stand out. Agent: Anjali Singh, Ayesha Pande Literary). (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2020
Release date: 08/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-9821-3706-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1117-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-1119-3
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