I, the Divine by Rabih Alameddine
A Novel in First Chapters

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Named after the "divine" Sarah Bernhardt, red-haired Sarah Nour El-Din is "wonderful, irresistibly unique, funny, and amazing," raves Amy Tan. Determined to make of her life a work of art, she tries to tell her story, sometimes casting it as a memoir, sometimes a novel, always fascinatingly incomplete. 

"Alameddine's new novel unfolds like a secret... creating a tale...humorous and heartbreaking and always real" (Los Angeles Times). "[W]ith each new approach, [Sarah] sheds another layer of her pretension, revealing another truth about her humanity" (San Francisco Weekly). Raised in a hybrid family shaped by divorce and remarriage, and by Beirut in wartime, Sarah finds a fragile peace in self-imposed exile in the United States. Her extraordinary dignity is supported by a best friend, a grown-up son, occasional sensual pleasures, and her determination to tell her own story. "Like her narrative, [Sarah's] life is broken and fragmented. [But] the bright, strange, often startling pieces...are moving and memorable" (Boston Globe). Reading group guide included.

About Rabih Alameddine

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Rabih Alameddine is the author of "Koolaids," "The Perv," and "I, the Divine," He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.
Published October 17, 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company. 320 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I, the Divine

Kirkus Reviews

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Sarah realizes in conclusion that she can best be known through her network of family and friends: good advice, perhaps, but not, at least here, the most rigorously cohering means of telling a life story.

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The Guardian

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In Koolaids, Alameddine quoted from Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveller - also a novel in first chapters: "Long novels written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time."

Sep 21 2002 | Read Full Review of I, the Divine: A Novel in Fir...

Publishers Weekly

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Sarah, named after Sarah Bernhardt by her grandfather and just as mischievous and dramatic as the famous actress, grows up in wartorn 1970s Beirut, longing for American freedoms.

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Book Reporter

In this mildly successful fictional memoir, Beirut-born Sarah Nour El-Din (named after "the divine" actress Sarah Bernhardt) has the worst case of writer's block in human history.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of I, the Divine: A Novel in Fir...

San Francisco Chronicle

Like the movie "Memento," Bay Area writer Rabih Alameddine's book "I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters" will fascinate some audiences while making others' heads hurt.

Nov 07 2001 | Read Full Review of I, the Divine: A Novel in Fir...

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