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Kamila's story, told beautifully by her daughter, is a window into the world of those tormented souls who carry on happily yet their hearts are heavy with despair and their spirits are acquiescent to defeat. It's a fascinating and a depressing world, all in the same measure. Peak in, it's guaranteed to move you one way or another.

Jan 19, Kamila Kunda rated it liked it Shelves: asia , own , non-fiction , islamic-countries. Sometimes reading books in translation, especially in Polish, I feel I miss out on a lot.

Fragments of songs, exchanges between lovers from films and poems are originally, as it is often mentioned, in Egyptian Arabic, and in Polish they sound overly sentimental, pompous and exalted. Where there should be lyricism and passion Sometimes reading books in translation, especially in Polish, I feel I miss out on a lot. Where there should be lyricism and passion there is cringe-worthy silly loftiness.

The book was originally written in English and I wonder how Arabic was handled in it. As for the story, it reads very well. Others often considered her to be frivolous and selfish and having read the book I tend to somewhat agree with those who knew her well. I must also mention the shocking cultural ignorance of the Polish publisher. Both have no relation to the story and its location whatsoever I cannot find any explanation for why a reputable Polish publisher would decide to use them. May 16, Kristin rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction , plain-favorites. I'm pretty sure this is the only book I've read that has made me a little afraid that I would actually die from the emotional upheaval it made me feel.


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Would some important vein burst in my brain from the physical pressure of my sympathetic co-experiencing of engulfing sorrow? However, it is not depressing. It's heart-wrenching--there's a vast difference. I cannot adequately summarize or review this book.

By HANAN AL-SHAYKH, translated by ROGER ALLEN

In fact, it's such a personal biography that I would even say it's private-- I feel that I' I'm pretty sure this is the only book I've read that has made me a little afraid that I would actually die from the emotional upheaval it made me feel. In fact, it's such a personal biography that I would even say it's private-- I feel that I've violated someone's privacy. I will conclude only with the fact that the photo at the end of Kamila and Muhammad, beautiful and in love, clandestinely taken in some hideaway surrounded no doubt by the terrible forces bent on separating them, will be engraved in my memory forever.

I am traumatized. Jun 03, Annalie rated it liked it Recommends it for: those interested in other cultures. Shelves: non-fiction. Throughout the book, I was amazed at how different the culture and outlook on life was. It was very interesting to read a true account and gain a new perspective on life in the Middle East. What made the book less enjoyable is that, although I had great empathy with Kamila, I found her silly and immature. I think this may be because women were treated like eternal children in that male-dominated society and of course many women would just not grow up.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have under those Throughout the book, I was amazed at how different the culture and outlook on life was. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have under those circumstances. It enraged me to read about those young girls being forced into marriage with older men. To me this is sexual abuse of children, plain and simple. And the worst of all is that it is still happening today. I feel strongly about respecting other people's cultures, but you have to draw the line somewhere!

The best of Hanan Al-Shaykh - a true gem. She surprises us, not only with its details, description of places and characters, but with the truth that she shares with us. A friend read the English translation and found it interesting and excellent. The novel also informs us about life in Lebanon in the first half of the twentieth century. The writing deserved more than 2 stars, I think, but the book was frustrating in many ways and I did not enjoy it. This memoir spoke to me in so many ways!

The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story

Let's explore them: I was never to read and write as I am now, if for no other reason but to write my story. Let me tell you how it hurts when a piece of wood and a piece of lead defeat me. I can communicate with people who are thousands of miles away just through a piece of paper and pen or This memoir spoke to me in so many ways! I can communicate with people who are thousands of miles away just through a piece of paper and pen or electronic means.

Locust bird

There are people in this world who don't have those privileges and who don't have ways to tell their stories other than by narrating them. This memoir is basically a daughter giving her mother a voice through her ability to write. It's a beautiful memoir because it encompasses everything that her mother wanted to tell to the world, her story of hardship but also of deep and unbreakable love. Hanan has always thought that she knew her mother's story of how she divorced her father and gave up both Hanan and her sister Fatima.

What Hanan doesn't know is the rest of the story, the parts that show her mother's reasons for leaving her behind. We sometimes assume that we know what happened, and that might be true, we might know a fact or two, but the context can make all the difference.

Arts Brookfield | "The Locust and the Bird" - Arts Brookfield

In this memoir, that context is everything. The power of women: Even when at their lowest, the women in this memoir found ways to get what they needed and wanted. It wasn't always the best way to go about things, lying, stealing, blackmailing, but they found a way. I found myself judging these women for doing these things but then I thought "what other way was there? It's an incredibly difficult situation they lived in, one where they had no power, where men dictated everything that they got to do in their lives, and where only other men could save them in most situations.

Lebanon: I had never before read a book set in Lebanon, through this book I got to know a bit about the culture and history of Beirut and what happened there from the s to the s. This book really got me thinking, it's a story of hardship yes, but also of overcoming every obstacle and hanging on to love as best as you can. I highly recommend it to everyone. Mar 15, Helena rated it liked it Shelves: biographies-memories , travelling-not-in-my-hands.

I would have liked to like this book more than I did. I hoped to read about Lebanon in the 19th century, but this was a biographical story of Kamila, whom I found such an immature person. Her childish and romantic fantasies and relationships weren't interesting and I really didn't like Kamila as a person at all. A little disappointment for me. Jan 17, Tamara Agha-Jaffar rated it it was ok Shelves: women , books-i-ve-reviewed , middle-east-and-africa , women-of-color , non-fiction , reading-challenge.

She is a child forced into a marriage with her much older brother-in-law after the death of his first wife. Although she is defiant and resourceful, she is also immature. She never seems to grow up or to assume the responsibilities of an adult—even after giving birth to seven children. Denied access to schooling, she remains illiterate all her life. Her knowledge of the world and how it operates is influenced by what she sees on the movie screen.

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She confuses the real world with the glitz of Egyptian movies and the lives of Egyptian movie stars. Struggling with debt after the death of her second husband, Kamila does what she has been doing all her life: she relies on her good looks and charm to get her through her difficulties. In her later years, Kamila comes to regret the choices she made in life, including abandoning her two oldest daughters in order to be with the man she loves. But in spite of her remorse, she does not come across as a sympathetic or endearing character.


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  6. She is self-absorbed, selfish, and has no qualms about using people—especially her children—to achieve her goals. Because Kamila is illiterate, she has to rely on those around her to shape her worldview. As a consequence, she espouses a narrow worldview with very limited options. It is not surprising she is incompetent when it comes to managing a budget, running a household, or raising children.