cover image Evil Eye

Evil Eye

Etaf Rum. Harper, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-298790-7

A universal portrait of motherhood and intergenerational trauma, Rum’s sophomore effort (after the bestselling A Woman Is No Man) tells the story of North Carolina–based college art teacher and graphic designer Yara, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Yara longs to travel, but her husband Fadi insists she stay home with their two young children. Then Yara is on the receiving end of a racist comment made by a woman colleague: “Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s no secret that women from your country experience severe sexism and misogyny,” to which Yara responds, “I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., you fucking racist.” The incident results in her suspension from the college, and she’s mandated to counseling, where her therapist helps her unpack her family history. While Yara’s mother has always insisted their family is cursed, Yara’s therapy work leads her to realize that the cause of her woes is not fantastical, but rather the generational cycle of obedience: “Why was she... waiting for a man to give her permission,” Yara wonders about herself. The fierce feminist sentiments and nuanced approach to Yara’s fraught marriage and family history make for a winning combination. This satisfies on multiple levels. Agent: Julia Kardon, Hannigan Getzler Literary. (Sept.)