Bloomsbury £8.99 (302pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600
The Locust and the Bird, By Hanan Al-Shaykh
Friday 09 April 2010
Locked into marriage at 14, Hanan Al-Shaykh's mother Kamila pined for the glamour of movies and poetry – and for her true love, the musical, romantic youth Muhammad. In this remarkable leap of imagination and empathy, the Lebanese novelist reverses the usual optic of family memoirs by recreating her mother's headstrong but stardust-sprinkled journey through life.
Only at its start and end does the writer speak as herself. Rebellion, divorce and, later, civil war in Beirut split Kamila from her daughter, and so this testament at one remove forms part of a long voyage of recovery and renewal.
"My mother wrote this book," Al-Shaykh insists. "She is the one who spread her wings." Mischievous, passionate, lyrical, this virtuoso feat of ventriloquism keeps its sparkle and its tenderness in Roger Allen's translation.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Hey Arnold! is coming back, and possibly Rugrats too
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Prog rock finally comes of age with launch of the first Official Progressive Chart
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up