Naphtalene

Naphtalene

Alia Mamdouh

Literature & Fiction

Seen through the eyes of a strong-willed and perceptive young girl, Naphtalene beautifully captures the atmosphere of Baghdad in the 1940s and 1950s. Through her rich and lyrical descriptions, Alia Mamdouh vividly recreates a city of public steam baths, roadside butchers, and childhood games played in the same streets where political demonstrations against British colonialism are beginning to take place.At the heart of the novel is nine-year-old Huda, a girl whose fiery, defiant nature contrasts sharply with her own inherent powerlessness. Through Mamdouh's strikingly inventive use of language, Huda's stream-of-consciousness narrative expands to take in the life not only of a young girl and her family, but of her street, her neighborhood, and her country. Alia Mamdouh, winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Award in Arabic Literature, is a journalist, essayist and novelist living in exile in Paris. Long banned from publishing in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, she is the author of...
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The Loved Ones

The Loved Ones

Alia Mamdouh

Literature & Fiction

“Ferocious, visceral descriptions . . . give a powerful sense not only of Suhaila's world but also of the way we make and understand memories."—Booklist“Often intense and lyrical."—Kirkus ReviewsThis winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Literature mingles memories of the past with the shifting voices of the present when the estranged son of an Iraqi exile flies from his home in Toronto to visit her in Paris. As his ailing mother, the once-vibrant Suhaila, lies in a hospital bed, he acquaints himself with her constellation of close friends. Immediately, he becomes immersed in the complex relationships he has fought so hard to avoid: with his mother and his war-torn homeland. Alia Mamdouh weaves a magical tale of the human condition in this stunning and beautifully written novel of faith, family, and hope.
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