The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story
Book: The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story , by Hanan Al-Shaykh, ISBN10: 0307378209, ISBN13: 9780307378200, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, August 2009, Hardcover
HANAN al-SHAYKH was born in Lebanon and brought up in Beirut. Formerly a writer for the prestigious daily Al-Nahar, she is also the author of Women of Sand and Myrrh, The Story of Zahra, Beirut Blues, and, most recently, I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops. She lives in London with her family.
In a masterly act of literary transformation, celebrated novelist Hanan al-Shaykh re-creates the dramatic life and times of her mother, Kamila.
Married at a young age against her will, Kamila soon fell head-over-heels in love with another man—and was thus forced to choose between her children and her lover. As the narrative unfolds through the years—from the bazaars, cinemas and apartments of 1930s Beirut to its war-torn streets decades later—we follow this passionate woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of a life lived to the very fullest.
The Barnes & Noble Review
In the Velvet Underground's playful yet sincere "Rock and Roll," Lou Reed relates the story of a girl named Ginny whose humdrum existence changes drastically when she stumbles upon a New York radio station playing an entirely new kind of music. Ginny will never be the same, and this is a good thing. Indeed, "her life was saved by rock and roll." In The Locust and the Bird, Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh depicts her mother, Kamila, a stifled young teenager in 1930s and '40s Beirut, finding succor in Egyptian romance films and their crooning stars' mellifluous love songs. Denied an education by her family, illiterate Kamila explains that "the cinema had become my school, teaching me about life, history and geography." And after being married off at the tender age of 14, Kamila's continued furtive escapes to the movie theater provide more than just fun afternoons, as that is where her unlikely quest for love is nurtured. In a sense, movies save Kamila's life.
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