Brooklyn Heights by Miral Al-Tahawy

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Hend, with her superstitious fatalism and borderline hysteria, is an awkward and often unattractive character...
-Guardian

Synopsis

Hind, newly arrived in New York with her eight-year-old son, several suitcases of unfinished manuscripts, and hardly any English, finds a room in a Brooklyn teeming with people like her who dream of becoming writers.

As she discovers the various corners of her new home, they conjure up parallel memories from her childhood and her small Bedouin village in the Nile Delta: Emilia who sells used shoes at the flea market smells like Zeinab, the old woman who worked for Hind's grandfather; the reflection of her own body as she dances tango awakens the awkwardness of her relationship to that body across the years; the story of Lilette, the Egyptian bourgeoise who has lost her memory, prompts Hind to safeguard her own.

Through this kaleidoscopic spectrum of disadvantaged characters we encounter unique but familiar life histories in this award-winning and intensely moving novel of displacement and exile. It was the winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, and was shortlisted for the 2011 Arabic Booker prize.

 

About Miral Al-Tahawy

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Critically acclaimed Egyptian author, Miral al-Tahawy was born in Sharqiya in the Egyptian Delta into a Bedouin family of the al-Hanadi tribe. The youngest of seven children, she is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, and Director of the Arabic program at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Her previous works The Tent (1998), Blue Aubergine (2002), Gazelle Tracks (2009)have collectively been translated into many languages. Brooklyn Heights is her first novel to be published in English.
 
Published January 1, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction
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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Anna Scott on Nov 13 2012

Hend, with her superstitious fatalism and borderline hysteria, is an awkward and often unattractive character...

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