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An Unnecessary Woman

Alameddine, Rabih (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
An Unnecessary Woman
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"Aaliya Sohbi lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family's 'unnecessary appendage.' Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read-- by anyone. After overhearing her neighbors, 'the three witches,' discussing her too-white hair, Aaliya accidentally dyes her hair too blue. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman's late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya's own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left" -- from publisher's web site.
Authors: Alameddine, Rabih
Title: An unnecessary woman
Publisher: New York :, Grove Press,, [2013]
Edition: First edition
Characteristics: 291 pages ; 22 cm
Summary: "Aaliya Sohbi lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family's 'unnecessary appendage.' Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read-- by anyone. After overhearing her neighbors, 'the three witches,' discussing her too-white hair, Aaliya accidentally dyes her hair too blue. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman's late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya's own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left" -- from publisher's web site.
ISBN: 0802122140
9780802122148
Statement of Responsibility: Rabih Alameddine
Subject Headings: Beirut (Lebanon) Fiction Women Lebanon Beirut Fiction Recluses Lebanon Beirut Fiction
Topical Term: Women
Recluses
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"At 72, Aaliya Sobhi has been alone for most of her life -- divorced and childless, she's considered "unnecessary" by both her family and her Lebanese culture. But she has her books and an almost obsessive desire to translate her favourite novels into Arabic, which she then stores in her apartment, sharing them with no one. Set during a single day, and composed almost entirely of Aaliya's own thoughts, memories, and discourses on literature, this is a book for book lovers. "Dip into it, make a reading list from it, or simply bask in its sharp, smart prose", suggests Booklist." Fiction A to Z March 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/7b91ded4-ca5a-4608-8a16-ef2289b1f6ae?postId=f9c8c515-1dd1-45e1-a5c7-70f56e57d920

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Jun 19, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Most of the books published these days consist of a series of whines followed by an epiphany. I call these memoirs and confessional novels happy tragedies.

Jun 19, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

To write is to know that you are not home. I stopped loving Odysseus as soon as he landed back in Ithaca.

Jun 19, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

To paraphrase the everparaphraseable Freud, who said something to the effect that when you speak about the past you lie with every breath you take, I will say this:
When you write about the past, you lie with each letter, with every grapheme, including the goddamn comma.
Memory, memoir, autobiography -- lies, lies, all lies.

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/21 13:32