The Locust and the Bird, My Mother's Story

The Locust and the Bird, My Mother's Story

Book - 2009
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Random House, Inc.
“One of the most daring . . . female writers of the Middle East” (San Francisco Chronicle) gives us an indelible work of nonfiction: an account of her mother’s remarkable life, at the core of which is a tale of undying love.

In a masterly act of literary transformation, Hanan al-Shaykh re-creates the dramatic life of her mother, Kamila, in Kamila’s own voice. And so we see 1930s Beirut through the eyes of the unschooled but irrepressibly spirited ten-year-old child who arrives there from a small village in southern Lebanon with her own mother and siblings. We see her drawn to the excitements of the city, to the thrill of the cinema, and, most powerfully, to Mohammed, the young man who will be the love of her life. Despite a forced marriage at the age of thirteen to a much older man, despite the two daughters she bears him (one of them the author), despite the scandal and embarrassment she brings to her family, Kamila continues to see Mohammed. Finally, after nearly a decade, her husband gives her a divorce. Now we are looking through the eyes of a still very young woman who abandons her first family in order to create a family with the man she truly loves, only to be left a widowed mother of five when Mohammed dies tragically young.

As the narrative unfolds through the years (Kamila died in 2001) we follow this passionate, strong, demanding, and captivating woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of
a life lived to the very fullest. It’s an extraordinary story given a brilliantly realized, luminous voice.

Baker & Taylor
Presents the true story of the author's mother, who was forced into an arranged marriage at thirteen to a much older man, but continued to see her true love for ten years despite the scandal and embarrassment to her family in 1930s Beirut.

Blackwell North Amer
In a masterly act of literary transformation, celebrated novelist Hanan al-Shaykh re-creates the dramatic life of her mother, Kamila, in Kamila's own voice. We enter 1930s Beirut through the eyes of the unschooled but irrepressibly spirited nine-year-old child who arrives there from a small village in southern Lebanon. We see her drawn to the excitements of the city, to the thrill of the cinema, and, most powerfully, to Mohammad, the young man who will be the love of her life.
Despite a forced marriage at the age of thirteen to a much older man, despite the two daughters she bears him (one of them the author), despite the scandal and embarrassment she brings to her family, Kamila continues to see Mohammad. Finally, after a decade, her husband gives her a divorce, but she must leave her children behind.
The Locust and the Bird is both a tribute to a strong-willed and independent woman and a heartfelt critique of a mother whose decisions were unorthodox and often controversial. As the narrative unfolds through the years (Kamila died in 2001), we follow this passionate, strong, demanding, and captivating woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of a life lived to the very fullest.

Baker
& Taylor

The true story of the author’s mother, forced into an arranged marriage at thirteen to a much older man, but continued to see her true love for ten years despite the scandal and embarrassment to her family in 1930s Beirut.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 2009
ISBN: 9780307378200
0307378209
Branch Call Number: 892.7 SIRHA SHAYK
Notes: Based on the author's recordings of her illiterate mother's narration of different stages of her life

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