BookBrowse Reviews Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber

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A Novel

by Diana Abu-Jaber

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  • First Published:
    Jun 2007, 384 pages
    May 2008, 384 pages

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Deft, page-turning narrative tension and atmosphere, tug the reader to an unforgettable conclusion

Origin is a dramatic change of course for Abu-Jaber, previously known for her lightly humorous Arab-American culinary love stories Arabian Jazz and Crescent, and for her memoir, The Language of Baklava. In Origin she takes leave of her roots to craft a darkly poetic, literary mystery set in a cold Syracuse winter, with nary a recipe in sight.

Lena has an extraordinarily heightened sense of smell and a highly developed intuition that allows her to sense things that others miss. Working as a fingerprint expert in the Syracuse crime lab, she is drawn into a mysterious series of crib deaths. At first they are written off as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome); however, Lena senses that something more sinister is at work and, when her...

Diana Abu-Jaber teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland and Miami. She is currently working on a young adult novel called SilverWorld but plans to write future books about Lena down the road.

In her own words:

I grew up inside the shape of my father's stories. A Jordanian immigrant, Dad regaled us with tales about himself, his country, and his family that both entertained us and instructed us about the place he'd come from and the way he saw the world. These stories exerted a powerful influence on my imagination, in terms of what I chose to write about, the ...

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