The Cry of the Dove

( 4 )

Overview

“Exquisitely woven.”—Leila Aboulela Timely and lyrical, The Cry of the Dove is the story of one young woman and an evocative portrait of forbidden love and violated honor in a culture whose reverberations are felt profoundly in our world today. Salma has committed a crime punishable by death in her Bedouin tribe of Hima, Levant: she had sex out of wedlock and became pregnant. Despite the insult it would commit against her people, Salma has the child and suddenly finds herself a fugitive on the run from those ...

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The Cry of the Dove: A Novel

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Overview

“Exquisitely woven.”—Leila Aboulela Timely and lyrical, The Cry of the Dove is the story of one young woman and an evocative portrait of forbidden love and violated honor in a culture whose reverberations are felt profoundly in our world today. Salma has committed a crime punishable by death in her Bedouin tribe of Hima, Levant: she had sex out of wedlock and became pregnant. Despite the insult it would commit against her people, Salma has the child and suddenly finds herself a fugitive on the run from those seeking to restore their honor. Salma is rushed into protective custody where her newborn is ripped from her arms, and where she sits alone for years before being ushered to safety in England. Away from her Bedouin village, Salma is an asylum-seeker trying to melt into the crowd, under pressure to reassess her way of life. She learns English customs from her landlady and befriends a Pakistani girl who is also on the run, with whose help Salma finally forges a new identity. But just as things settle, the need to return for her lost daughter overwhelms her, and one fateful day, Salma risks everything to go back and find her.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Jordanian British author Faqir (Pillars of Salt) has written an exquisite novel describing the plight of Salma, a young Bedouin woman who has become pregnant before marriage and must flee her village to avoid being murdered by her brother, as the tribal code of honor killings demands. Told in the first person, the discontinuous narrative of Salma's life is as well constructed as a mosaic in which each tile is lovely in itself but helps to create a whole that is breathtaking. As the reader is taken back and forth in time, Salma reinvents herself as an immigrant in England, where she finds work as a seamstress, makes friends with a Pakistani woman also fleeing her family's wrath, copes with her aging alcoholic roommate, learns English, and eventually enters the university. Yet she is unable to escape her past; she's haunted by memories of her village childhood, eight years in protective custody in a Middle Eastern prison, time spent in a Lebanese convent, and, most important, the daughter taken from her. As Salma's life moves toward its inevitable climax, readers will be transfixed. Strongly recommended for all literary collections.
—Andrea Kempf

Kirkus Reviews
Pregnant, unmarried and sentenced to death by her family, a young Arab woman eventually escapes from the Middle East and starts over in England. It's not easy. The woman's name is Salma in her native land (probably Jordan). In England she's Sally. The Jordanian-British Faqir narrates her third novel in short takes, alternating past and present. Then and now, in Jordan and England, Salma and Sally wink at us like a hologram. Faqir's purpose is to show just how tenuous Salma's life in England is, and as details of her past trickle out, we understand why. She lived a simple life with her Bedouin Muslim family, herding goats. In her early teens she and her boyfriend Hamdan became lovers. On learning of her pregnancy, he disowned her. Salma turned to her teacher, who had her put in prison so her tribe would not kill her. She gave birth on the prison floor to a girl she named Layla. The baby was taken from her instantly; Salma had no opportunity to suckle her. (In England, she tries to get her nipples excised.) Six years later, a Lebanese nun removed her to a convent; from there, an English nun escorted her by sea to England. Now she works as a seamstress in Exeter, in the West Country; her landlady is a volatile alcoholic. Salma is still crippled by shame and self-loathing. She imagines her brother Mahmoud stalking her, set to kill, but transcending those fears is her yearning for Layla, who she hears calling her. Tellingly, she can handle anger and rejection in her new life; it is kindness that is unbearable. Much of this is moving and poignant, if needlessly repetitious, but toward the end Faqir (Pillars of Salt, 1997, etc.) loses her way. Salma's marriage to a gentle English educator andthe birth of their son is skimmed over. It seems Faqir has the same difficulty with good news that Salma has with kindness. The wretched subjugation of Muslim women overshadows the immigrant adventure story. Agent: Toby Eady/Toby Eady Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802170408
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/10/2007
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 668,033
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2011

    So Confusing

    This book is so confusing, it jumps around without any consistency. I really wanted to love this book but I just could not take the scattered storyline. Please check this out from the library...if you must.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Erratic story telling

    As much as I would like to know Salma's story I just couldn't abide by the way it was being told--so much jumping around! I don't mind stories that jump from time frame to time frame but this one did it every two to three paragraphs. After thirty or so pages of this technique I did not think I would be able to tolerate it for 300+ pages, so alas, I'll never know Salma's fate. (Loved the cover though, it was absolutely beautiful!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2009

    oh my goodness.

    most depressing book i have ever had the misfortune of buying/reading.
    what a waste of money. the plotline was ridiculous. *shudder*
    the only way i'd ever read it again would be if i got paid a huge sum of money. if you have to read it, hide the kitchen knives!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    Read Faqir's other books

    I was somewhat puzzled by the ending of Faqir's book, The Cry of the Dove. The novel began as a magnificent story about a young girl from a traditional Arab/Islamic family and her escape from Jordan after she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. The story captures the girl's extreme sense of exile and alienation in her adopted country of Great Britain. Faqir's narrative is beautifully written and makes interesting use of flashbacks and dreams. However, the ending of the novel seems to be written in a completely different style and takes a completely different turn. It almost seems that the author hastily put together an ending for this story. This may partly be explained by the fact that the author's note in the book indicates that she began writing this novel several years ago, put it down, and returned to it much later. Unfortunately the shabby ending reflects the time gap in completing the novel and the author's apparent lack of interest in her own story after so much time had passed. Skip this book entirely, or read it without finishing the ending, and pick up Faqir's superior earlier novel, Pillars of Salt, also set in Jordan and also about the lives of Arab/Islamic women.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2008

    very depressing

    everything that happened to salma (the main chracter) was horrible and depressing. the poor girl could not catch a break. just when you thought things were going to look up, they didn't. i finished the book only because i hate not finishing books i start but, otherwise i would have stopped reading it. not worth the money. if you must read it, check it out of the library.

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