2020 Palestine Book Awards Winner
2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist
In this “beautiful...urgent” novel (The New York Times), Nahr, a young Palestinian woman, fights for a better life for her family as she travels as a refugee throughout the Middle East.
As Nahr sits, locked away in solitary confinement, she spends her days reflecting on the dramatic events that landed her in prison in a country she barely knows. Born in Kuwait in the 70s to Palestinian refugees, she dreamed of falling in love with the perfect man, raising children, and possibly opening her own beauty salon. Instead, the man she thinks she loves jilts her after a brief marriage, her family teeters on the brink of poverty, she’s forced to prostitute herself, and the US invasion of Iraq makes her a refugee, as her parents had been. After trekking through another temporary home in Jordan, she lands in Palestine, where she finally makes a home, falls in love, and her destiny unfolds under Israeli occupation. Nahr’s subversive humor and moral ambiguity will resonate with fans of My Sister, The Serial Killer, and her dark, contemporary struggle places her as the perfect sister to Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.
Written with Susan Abulhawa’s distinctive “richly detailed, beautiful, and resonant” (Publishers Weekly) prose, this powerful novel presents a searing, darkly funny, and wholly unique portrait of a Palestinian woman who refuses to be a victim.
Loved by our collective!
'The way you live your life in our culture, without apology or shame, even if with sadness, makes you extraordinary and special, Nahr.'
Perhaps the most compelling figure I've encountered in literary fiction, Nahr—a Palestinian woman reflecting on her life from an Israeli prison—is neither a political mastermind nor swept up without agency, and her relationships with the women in her life are, for me, the beating heart of this story. The heavy sexual violence—much of which happens on the page—is modulated by moments of cathartic beauty and joy.
A passionate exploration of family and indigeneity, and a devastating indictment of patriarchy and settler colonialism.
- 400 pages
- Washington Square Press (11/1/21)
- 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches