Nidali, the rebellious daughter of an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, narrates the story of her childhood in Kuwait, her teenage years in Egypt (to where she and her family fled the 1990 Iraqi invasion), and her familys last flight to Texas. Nidali mixes humor with a sharp, loving portrait of an eccentric middle-class family, and this perspective keeps her buoyant through the hardships she encounters: the humiliation of going through a checkpoint on a visit to her fathers home in the West Bank; the fights with her father, who wants her to become a famous professor and stay away from boys; the end of her childhood as Iraq invades Kuwait on her thirteenth birthday; and the scare she gives her family when she runs away from home.
Funny, charming, and heartbreaking, A Map of Home is the kind of book Tristram Shandy or Huck Finn would have narrated had they been born Egyptian-Palestinian and female in the 1970s.
The Shit No One Bothered To Tell Us
Our second year in America, approaching our third, and Baba still comes back from work on a bus. He hates the city. He likes the bus. It is efficient and cool and clean. The bus races through neighborhoods and picks up people in uniform. Baba smells his hands when the bus stops at our neighborhood. He burrows them in his coat. The weather is odd and Texan; it is hot; it is cold; and Baba loves it, because it is like him and can't decide which one it wants to be, or even if it wants to stay or leave. Baba wants to build his own house. He has visited fourteen banks and their loan agents all flip through his paperwork and remind him of the soldiers at the Allenby bridge. They read it quickly and send him off. He has to build his credit before he can build a house, they say. He applies for more credit cards. He buys Mama an Olds, and pays for ...
Coming-of-age themes are common, but the intelligent narration provides more than enough interest to sustain the momentum. Rare is the book that makes one stay up to finish it; this is one of them, simultaneously circling in its family dramas and spiraling outwards in its connections to history and place. Adult and teen readers alike would enjoy Nidali's honest portrayal. She's the Muslim equivalent of J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, tender, caustic and wise in all the right moments.
(Reviewed by Karen Rigby).
Full Review (1059 words).
Arabic music is influenced by a history of conquest
and contact with numerous countries including but not
limited to Greece, Medieval Europe and Turkey. Elements of
Arabic music can also be found in non-Arabic countries. A
few common characteristics are the connection between music
and poetry, and the use of
maqamat. In Arabic music, a maqam (plural maqamat) is a
set of notes. The nearest equivalent in Western classical
music would be a mode.
Traditional instruments include:
If you liked A Map of Home, try these:
American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life.
An exciting collection of the best new writing from the Arab world, by thirty-nine writers under thirty-nine.
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