West of the Jordan: A Novelby Laila Halaby
This is a brilliant and revelatory first novel by a woman who is both an Arab and an American, who speaks with both voices and understands both worlds. Through the narratives of four cousins at the brink of maturity, Laila Halaby immerses her readers in the lives, friendships, and loves of girls struggling with national, ethnic, and sexual identities. Mawal is the… See more details below
This is a brilliant and revelatory first novel by a woman who is both an Arab and an American, who speaks with both voices and understands both worlds. Through the narratives of four cousins at the brink of maturity, Laila Halaby immerses her readers in the lives, friendships, and loves of girls struggling with national, ethnic, and sexual identities. Mawal is the stable one, living steeped in the security of Palestinian traditions in the West Bank. Hala is torn between two worlds-in love in Jordan, drawn back to the world she has come to love in Arizona. Khadija is terrified by the sexual freedom of her American friends, but scarred, both literally and figuratively, by her father's abusive behavior. Soraya is lost in trying to forge an acceptable life in a foreign yet familiar land, in love with her own uncle, and unable to navigate the fast culture of California youth. Interweaving their stories, allowing us to see each cousin from multiple points of view, Halaby creates a compelling and entirely original story, a window into the rich and complicated Arab world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
- Beacon Press
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- Penguin Random House Publisher Services
- NOOK Book
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- 613 KB
Meet the Author
Laila Halaby was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Jordanian father and an American mother. She speaks four languages, won a Fulbright scholarship to study folklore in Jordan, and holds a master's degree in Arabic literature. Her first novel, West of the Jordan, won the prestigious PEN Beyond Margins Award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her family.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Wonderful portrayal of life, culture, love, passion and suffering of the people of Palestinians and their lives as a displaced people!
I loved this book! It gave me such a perspectiv ethat I had not known before. It was enlightening and shows that thier is humanity in even those places in the world where the media tries to hide it! I want to me more of this caliber with this perspective.
Though there were interesting parts to the book, it just didn't hold my interest. It is rare for me to not finish a book but I finally just had to stop. It was difficult to keep track of who was who and the relationships to each other. Finally I just gave up trying. Not the most interesting read.