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Against the Loveless World

Susan Abulhawa

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Bloomsbury
03 November 2020
Nahr has been confined to the Cube: nine square metres of glossy grey cinderblock, devoid of time, its patterns of light and dark nothing to do with day and night. Journalists visit her, but get nowhere; because Nahr is not going to share her story with them.

The world outside calls Nahr a terrorist, and a whore; some might call her a revolutionary, or a hero. But the truth is, Nahr has always been many things, and had many names.

She was named for the river her pregnant mother crossed when she fled from Palestine, but her feckless father called her Yaqoot, Ruby. For a time when she came of age she was Almas, Diamond, a girl who went to hidden parties in Kuwait with powerful men, who sold off parts of herself to keep her family together. She was a girl who learned, early and painfully, that when you are a second class citizen love is a kind of desperation; she learned, above all else, to survive.

She was a girl who went to Palestine in the wrong shoes, and without looking for it found what she had always lacked in the basement of a battered beauty parlour: purpose, politics, friends. She found a dark-eyed man called Bilal, who taught her to resist; who tried to save her when it was already too late.

Nahr sits in the Cube, and tells her story to Bilal. Bilal, who isn't there; Bilal, who may not even be alive, but who is her only reason to get out.
By:   Susan Abulhawa
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
Weight:   384g
ISBN:   9781526618801
ISBN 10:   152661880X
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   03 November 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Susan Abulhawa was born to refugees of the Six Day War of 1967, when her family's land was seized and Israel captured what remained of Palestine, including Jerusalem. She moved to the USA as a teenager, graduated in biomedical science and established a career in medical science. In July 2001, she founded Playgrounds for Palestine, a children's organisation dedicated to upholding The Right to Play for Palestinian children, and her essays and political commentaries have appeared in print and international news media. She is the author of two novels, Mornings in Jenin, which was an international bestseller, and The Blue Between Sky and Water, and a book of poems. She lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter. @sjabulhawa

Reviews for Against the Loveless World

The writer's pain - and the beauty of her prose - are very real * Daily Telegraph * One of the most thought-provoking books I've read ... written with passion and honesty, and poetry * Daily Mail * Abulhawa's writing shines ... Friendship, adolescence, love: ordinary events, offset against extraordinary circumstances, make the story live * Independent * Hard to bear but impossible to ignore ... Shows how history's assault on each person is public, and how it nevertheless cannot extinguish the private experience of grief or the secret sense of eros. Abulhawa's vision is precise, courageous, and dazzling In true Thousand and One Nights style, Abulhawa surprises us by continually unfolding new stories ... Characters struggle to keep their secrets, but Abulhawa releases them. These are secrets we need to know, secrets that will educate us about ourselves * Guardian * A transformative literary grace. Abulhawa's prose is luminous * Independent on Sunday * A fine observer of female kinship ... A powerful read * Financial Times * A family saga with global reach, these stories jump off the page and into the soul and reach far beyond any headline or statistic, past the head, to the heart A giant step in the development of Palestinian fiction. The book is a great feat of imagination and storytelling * Raja Shehadeh * Readers ... are sure to be charmed by Abulhawa's glittering language and to remember (and love) the characters long after the book has ended * Washington Independent Review of Books * Powerful and moving * Stylist *


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