West of the Jordan by Laila Halaby
A Novel (Bluestreak)

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This is a brilliant and revelatory first novel by a woman who is both an Arab and an American, who speaks with both voices and understands both worlds. Through the narratives of four cousins at the brink of maturity, Laila Halaby immerses her readers in the lives, friendships, and loves of girls struggling with national, ethnic, and sexual identities. Mawal is the stable one, living steeped in the security of Palestinian traditions in the West Bank. Hala is torn between two worlds-in love in Jordan, drawn back to the world she has come to love in Arizona. Khadija is terrified by the sexual freedom of her American friends, but scarred, both literally and figuratively, by her father's abusive behavior. Soraya is lost in trying to forge an acceptable life in a foreign yet familiar land, in love with her own uncle, and unable to navigate the fast culture of California youth. Interweaving their stories, allowing us to see each cousin from multiple points of view, Halaby creates a compelling and entirely original story, a window into the rich and complicated Arab world.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Laila Halaby

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Laila Halaby was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Jordanian father and an American mother. She speaks four languages, won a Fulbright scholarship to study folklore in Jordan, and holds a master's degree in Arabic literature. Her first novel, West of the Jordan, won the prestigious PEN Beyond Margins Award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her family. 
Published June 15, 2003 by Beacon Press. 238 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for West of the Jordan

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Four young women from Palestine and Jordan contend with issues of identity in this debut novel from Arab-American author Halaby. Hala, who has just finished high school in Arizona and intends to go

Apr 07 2003 | Read Full Review of West of the Jordan: A Novel (...

Publishers Weekly

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As she spends time in the country of her childhood, she forges a relationship with her older cousin, Sharif, and faces tough choices about her future.

| Read Full Review of West of the Jordan: A Novel (...

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