Amreekiya: A Novel

Amreekiya: A Novel

by Lena Mahmoud


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Isra Shadi, a twenty-one-year-old woman of mixed Palestinian and white descent, lives in California with her paternal amu (uncle), amtu (aunt), and cousins after the death of her mother and abandonment by her father at a young age. Ever the outcast in her amu and amtu's household, they eagerly encourage Isra to marry and leave. After rejecting a string of undesirable suitors, she marries Yusef, an old love from her past.

In Amreekiya, author Lena Mahmoud deftly juggles two storylines, alternating between Isra's youth and her current life as a married twentysomething who is torn between cultures and trying to define herself. The chapters chronicle various moments in Isra's narrative, including the volatile relationship of her parents and the trials and joys of forging a partnership with Yusef. Mahmoud also examines Isra's first visit to Palestine, the effects of sexism, how language affects identity, and what it means to have a love that overcomes unbearable pain.

An exploration of womanhood from an underrepresented voice in American literature, Amreekiya is simultaneously unique and relatable. Featuring an authentic array of characters, Mahmoud's first novel is a much-needed story in a divided world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813176376
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 11/09/2018
Series: University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose Series
Pages: 194
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lena Mahmoud was nominated for Pushcart Prizes for her story "Al Walad" and her essay "The Psyche of a Palestinian-American Writer" and was shortlisted for the OWT Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sinister Guru, KNOT Magazine, Pulp Literature, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Sukoon.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Both wise and humorous, Mahmoud's debut novel is an intimate portrayal of an early Arab American marriage, filled with passion, loss, and ultimately forgiveness. Readers will be moved by the fierce but fragile Isra, who refuses to be defined by her family, her husband, and her society." — Susan Muaddi Darraj, author of A Curious Land: Stories from Home

"Lena Mahmoud's novel, Amreekiya, takes us through the story of Isra, a young Palestinian American woman, as she negotiates the liminal space between cultures, generations, and gender. Mahmoud brings the past and present together, moving the novel back and forth to blur the distinctions of time. As we watch Isra grow, she becomes a catalyst for the interrogation of gender roles within the dynamics of cultural tensions. This is an honest and vulnerable story where Mahmoud manages the escalating tensions and the delicate balance of familial relationships with a skilled hand. The fabric of Palestine lives beneath this narrative, weaving into the lives of these characters as they as they struggle for place and identity in their new world." — Pauline Kaldas, author of Looking Both Ways: An Egyptian-American Journey

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