marny_h96: (read)
[personal profile] marny_h96
Title: Somewhere, Home
Author: Nada A. Jarrar
Number of Pages: 228 pages
Book Number/Goal: 8/40
My Rating: 3.5/5

Review: From "Somewhere, Home" tells the stories of three women, each of them far from home who are returning to, or still searching, for somewhere that can be called 'home'. Each of them is Lebanese and drawn back to a beautiful house in a village that represents home, as it was, or as it could be. Maysa returns to the house that was her grandparents' house when she was a child, in a village high on the slope of Mount Lebanon, leaving Beirut to search for her past and to imagine the past lives of her family. Aida, who has long since left the country of her birth, returns to Lebanon in search of the spirit of the Palestinian refugee who was a second father to her when she was a child. Salwa, now an old woman, taken from her homeland when she was a young wife and mother, recalls her life from her hospital bed, surrounded by her family but still, in some sense, far from home. Between them, these three sections explore women's lives, the experiences of displacement and loss, of exile and re-turn to the homeland, in a prose of exquisite precision and grace.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this book, to be honest. I liked it and I didn't like it at the same time. For one thing, the 'prose of exquisite precision and grace' was too flowery for me but that's just a matter of taste. The second thing that nearly made me stop reading the book was that it was too jumbled, at least in the first story. It jumps back and forth in time and sometimes I wasn't sure if I was reading Maysa's thought or memories or if it was something that was happening now. Fortunately, this gets better with Aida's and Salwa's stories.

That said, I liked the book enough to keep reading and I'm glad I did. Maysa, Aida and Salwa tell their stories and thus giving the reader an impression about what life had been before, during and after the civil war in Lebanon, especially for women. Although the book deals with loss and displacement, it's not a depressing book.

Recommended if you like books about women's lives in foreign countries.


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June 2017


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