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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: The Locust and the Bird|
|Release Date: 08-25-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Locust and the...|
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The Locust and the Bird
It all began on the day that my brother Kamil and I chased after Father, with Mother's curses ringing in our ears. I hoped and prayed God would take vengeance on him. He'd fallen in love with another woman, deserted us, and married her.
Mother had been to court in Nabatiyeh to seek child-support payments, but it did no good. Kamil and I were hunting for him so that he would buy us food. We ran over the rocky ground to the next village where he lived. We searched in the market at Nabatiyeh, asking people where we might find him. The sound of his voice and his loud laugh finally led us to him; he was too short to spot in a crowd, much shorter than Mother. Following her instructions, we asked him to buy us sugar and meat. He agreed immediately, telling us to follow him. We tagged along, our eyes glued to his back, terrified of losing him among the piled-up sacks of burghul and lentils, camels, donkeys, sheep and chickens, hawkers and vendors peddling their wares. At times he disappeared and we'd panic, thinking we had lost him for ever; then he'd reappear and our spirits would soar. Finally he gave up trying to lose us. He told us that he had no money and could buy us nothing. He described how to find our uncle's cobbler's stall near by and then he vanished.
Kamil yelled Father's name as loudly as he could above the vendors' cries and the bleating of the animals.
'Listen, boy,' said a man selling sheepskins. 'That voice of yours is about as much use as a fart in a workshop full of metal beaters!'
We made our way back to Mother. She was wa...