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Posted December 23, 2000
Along with Ghada al-Samman's unnamed narrator, readers are taken through a series of nightmares that describe a two week period in which the novel's protagonist is trapped in her Beirut flat by sniper fire during Lebanon's civil war. The nightmares are sometimes surreal, other times horrifying, and occasionally even tinged with a wry humor employed by the 'dreamer' as a tool to endure events as they occur. Along with lines that crisscross each other, and multiple contradictions, another of the book's themes is that of a group of pets--trapped, as the narrator is trapped in her home, in the shop where they are housed and abandoned by the owner--in whose lives she sees multiple parallels to the rest of the people in her neighborhood who are prisoners in their own homes. Al-Samman weaves her themes together with skill and grace, leaving readers with the memories of one Beiruti's journey--within and without her Self. I recommend this book for serious readers as well as those looking for a good novel, but one thing is sure: it is a narrative not soon forgotton.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.