The Loved Ones: A Modern Arabic Novel

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9789774162084: The Loved Ones: A Modern Arabic Novel

Suhaila lies in a coma in a Paris hospital. The loved ones of the title are the constellation of friends, predominantly women, who flock to Suhaila's side from all over the world to envelope her in the warmth of friendship that may ultimately save her and enable her rebirth. Suhaila comes alive through the stories about her: her excesses, her love of dancing, of wine, and of poetry, despite years of abuse by her Iraqi husband, the bleakness of exile from home, and the frustrating separation from her only son.

The Loved Ones is an intimately moving, polyphonic narrative of displacement and nomadism, a disjointed, at times disfigured tale that blends diverse time frames so that the past, the present, and the future are unified, interlocked, and intertwined. This awardwinning novel is a hymn to friendship and to boundless giving that ultimately restores life -- it is a story about memory and history, a story against forgetting.

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About the Author:

Alia Mamdouh was born in Iraq and received her degree in psychology from the University of Mastansariya in 1971. She served as editor-in-chief of al-Rasid magazine from 1970 to 1982. She now lives in Paris. The Loved Ones is her fifth novel, published in Arabic in 2003.

Review:

"Leaves an indelible impression. [The Loved Ones] is rich with family and neighbors and [Mamdouh] notes all of their subtle interactions and secrets." ―Library Journal

“What is dynamic here is Suhaila's loving community of women friends from everywhere . . . who talk about big ideas. . . . [T]he family story is universal. . ." ―Booklist

“...[I]ntense and lyrical.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Long after the last lines . . . [there is] a radiant picture of the heroine: her generous character . . . and above all, her love of Iraq. Her son Nader acknowledges that 'she always tows Baghdad into whatever places we have lived, to be able to endure things, to stay alive and not die.” ―Arab News, Saudi Arabia

"[An] intimately moving, polyphonic narrative of displacement and nomadism . . . a hymn to friendship and to boundless giving that ultimately restores life. Written in exile, it invents a language of exile with which to resist dispossession." ―Committee of Judges, Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Arabic Literature

"This novel has a complexity that takes time to progress . . . truly unique." ―Multicultural Review

“[In this novel the] strata of events and sensations create a vivid view of Iraqi society at home and abroad with an emphasis on the Iraqi diaspora in the last decade of the millennium. . . . Booth’s translation is a labor of love and talent, a skill coupled with devotion." ―Ferial J. Ghazoul, from the Afterword

"Leaves an indelible impression. [The Loved Ones] is rich with family and neighbors and [Mamdouh] notes all of their subtle interactions and secrets." Library Journal

What is dynamic here is Suhaila's loving community of women friends from everywhere . . . who talk about big ideas. . . . [T]he family story is universal. . ." Booklist

[I]ntense and lyrical.” Kirkus Reviews

Long after the last lines . . . [there is] a radiant picture of the heroine: her generous character . . . and above all, her love of Iraq. Her son Nader acknowledges that 'she always tows Baghdad into whatever places we have lived, to be able to endure things, to stay alive and not die.” Arab News, Saudi Arabia

"[An] intimately moving, polyphonic narrative of displacement and nomadism . . . a hymn to friendship and to boundless giving that ultimately restores life. Written in exile, it invents a language of exile with which to resist dispossession." Committee of Judges, Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Arabic Literature

"This novel has a complexity that takes time to progress . . . truly unique." Multicultural Review

[In this novel the] strata of events and sensations create a vivid view of Iraqi society at home and abroad with an emphasis on the Iraqi diaspora in the last decade of the millennium. . . . Booth’s translation is a labor of love and talent, a skill coupled with devotion." Ferial J. Ghazoul, from the Afterword

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