Love and Terrorism: Douaihy Novel Transcends Usual Banalities

Lynne Rogers

Jabbour Douaihy begins his multi-generational novel, “The American Quarter,” with the morning rituals that expose the bare lives of those living in the American Quarter of a Lebanese city, in an abandoned building now occupied by the financially disenfranchised. With sparse and carefully crafted detail, Douaihy vividly sketches the historical changes of the city as well as the personal history of each of his engaging and recognizable characters. The scene opens as an old man wakes up and retakes control of his TV set, which sits in the hallway. Later, Douaihy expands his vision into the larger city as the narrative follows his protagonist, Intisar, who readies her children for school, and then walks to the other side of the quarter to reach her work. 

The Golden Notebooks

Angele Ellis

Zed Books has chosen interesting times in which to re-release the English translation of the two-part autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, “A Daughter of Isis” and “Walking Through Fire.” One of the most important and distinctive voices of her generation, not only in the Arabic-speaking world, but across the globe, El Saadawi has served as a physician, writer, rebel, and revolutionary. Born in 1931, she explores in these two interwoven volumes her personal struggles for autonomy – for the survival of body, mind, and spirit – as both girl and woman in an Egyptian society warped by patriarchal religion, as well as repressive social traditions and laws. She states in “A Daughter of Isis” that at the age of six, she learned “these three words by heart and they were like one sentence: ‘God, calamity, marriage.’”As I write this review, similar women’s words echo in the halls of the U.S. Capitol and throughout America.


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