The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles Summary and Reviews

The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles

A Woman's Fight to Save Two Orphans

by Hala Jaber

The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber X
The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber

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About this book

Book Summary

The inspiring true story of a prizewinning foreign correspondent longing for a child, two small Iraqi girls in need of a mother, and what love and grief can teach us about family and hope.

Zahra, age three, and Hawra, only a few months old, were the only survivors of a missile strike in Baghdad in 2003 that killed their parents and five siblings. Across the world, in London, foreign correspondent Hala Jaber was preparing to head to Iraq to cover the emerging war. After ten years spent trying to conceive, Jaber and her husband had finally resigned themselves to a childless future. Now she intended to bury her grief in her work, with some unusually dangerous reporting. Once in Iraq, though, Jaber found herself drawn again and again to stories of mothers and children, a path that led her to an Iraqi children's hospital—and to Zahra and Hawra and their heart-wrenching story. Almost instantly Jaber became entwined in the lives of these girls, and in a struggle to advocate on their behalf that reveals far more about the human cost of war than any news bulletin ever could.

Beautifully written and deeply moving, The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles presents a genuinely fresh insight and perspective from a woman who, as an Arab living and working in the West, is able to uniquely straddle both worlds. In its attention to the emotional experiences of women and children whose lives are irrevocably changed by war, Jaber's story offers hope for redemption for those caught in its cross fires.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Jaber demonstrates in this affecting work how she employed her professional passion to aid Iraq's war victims." - Publishers Weekly

"A deeply personal account of one woman's personal demons, maternal desires and professional responsibilities in the context of contemporary Middle Eastern politics." - Kirkus Reviews.

"It is essential that we learn from other cultures. Recounting the traumas of war and sacrificed innocence in The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles, Hala Jaber brings us into this other world in a way that enlightens our understanding of ourselves. A moving and sober book; to be read and considered thoughtfully." - Yasmina Khadra, author of The Swallows of Kabul

"The beauty, courage and drama of this book absolutely floored me. Jaber finds compassion in war, love in grief and a way to mother despite childlessness. The Flying Carpet offers vital perspective on contemporary women’s choices and reminds us there are myriad paths to a creative, meaningful, generative life." - Peggy Orenstein, author of Waiting for Daisy

"Jaber maps the ancient roads of the human heart, where a childless woman longs for a baby of her own and embraces Baghdad's smallest victims instead. The result is a unique and haunting tale. Family, finally, is those who love us, and those we choose to love." - Melissa Fay Greene, author of There is No Me Without You

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Reader Reviews

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Louise Jolly

Captivating!!
The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles is such an enchanting and captivating story. The writing was so vivid that I felt as though I was Hala and experiencing what she was. I could see the devastation the bombs had created, could see the injured and burned children and heard their cries of pain as though I was standing next to them. War is never a good solution and its ramifications are not limited to the area being targeted but instead have far reaching repercussions.

The children in this story have lost and suffered more in their short lives than most of us will ever have experienced in our entire lifetime! The resilience of the families is unbelievable.

The story follows Hala, a Muslim woman who is a British journalist covering stories in war torn Iraq. Hala ultimately makes a promise to two sisters to help them after being injured in the war but finds she isn’t able to keep one of those promises and then must face the grandmother she also promised. The trauma that this causes her is surreal and affects her life in ways she didn’t expect. Hala must come to terms with her broken promise to the sisters’, the grandmother, and also for the lack of something within herself she has wanted for years but was unable to achieve.

This was a powerful, potent, completely unforgettable, and hauntingly good memoir!

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Author Information

Hala Jaber

Hala Jaber was born in West Africa and grew up in Lebanon, where her family still lives. She began her journalistic career in the Press Association bureau in Beirut. Twice named Foreign Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards, in 2005 and 2006, she has been honored by Amnesty International and in 2007 won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

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