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This spellbinding novel narrates the many-layered recollections of a hallucinating man in devastated Beirut. The desolate, almost surreal, urban landscape is enriched by the unfolding of the family sagas of Niqula Mitri and his beloved Shamsa, the Kurdish maid. Mitri reminisces about his Egyptian mother and his father who came back to settle in Beirut after a long stay in Egypt. Both Mitri and his father are textile merchants and see the world through the code of cloth, from the intimacy of linen, velvet, and silk to the most impersonal of synthetics. Shamsa in turn relates her story, the myriad adventures of her parents and grandparents who moved from Iraqi Kurdistan to Beirut. Haunting scenes of pastoral Kurds are juxtaposed against the sedentary decadence of metropolitan residents. Barakat weaves into her sophisticated narrative shreds of scientific discourse about herbal plants and textile crafts, customs and manners of Arabs, Armenians, and Kurds, mythological figures from ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, and Arabia, the theosophy of the African Dogons and the medieval Byzantines, and historical accounts of the Crusades in the Holy Land and the silk route to China.
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"A powerful story of humanity, of what should be, or should have been, protected. Barakat... weaves and intertwines, page after page, reality with history, past and present." - al Fadid"About the Author:
Hoda Barakat earned her B.A. in French language and literature from Beirut University in 1975, and in 1976 left for Paris to continue her education. She then worked in higher education, journalism, and research. She is the author of a collection of short stories and two other novels. She now lives in Paris. Marilyn Booth received her D.Phil. in Arabic literature and modern Middle East history from St. Antony's College, Oxford University. She has translated numerous works of modern Arabic fiction, including The Open Door by Latifa al-Zayyat (AUC Press, 2000), and Leaves of Narcissus by Somaya Ramadan (AUC Press, 2002).
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Book Description Oxford University Press 2002-03-15, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Books is in good condition. Some moderate creases and wear. This item may not come with CDs or additional parts including access codes for textbooks. Might be an ex-library copy. Seller Inventory # DS-977424690X-3
Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG977424690X
Book Description The American University in Cairo, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Light foxing to page edges Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Seller Inventory # wbb0012550820