An Unnecessary Woman
14%
off

An Unnecessary Woman

3.82 (12,241 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
3.82 (12,241 ratings by Goodreads)
Free delivery worldwide Expected delivery to the United States in 7-10 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.
Order now for expected delivery to the United States by Christmas Order now for expected delivery to the United States by Christmas

Description

Aaliya Saleh 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 favourite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read - by anyone.

This breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman follows Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colourful 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 ageing body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.

A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, the prodigiously gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a magnificent rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 128 x 197 x 19mm | 245g
  • Corsair
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781472119209
  • 22,593

Review Text

Book lovers will adore this moving tale ... Aaliya is a sympathetic character but never a pitiful one, recognisable yet also unique. Independent on Sunday
show more

Review quote

Book lovers will adore this moving tale ... Aaliya is a sympathetic character but never a pitiful one, recognisable yet also unique. * Independent on Sunday * The narrator of this exquisitely written novel, Aaliya, is an old woman who lives alone by choice in her war-damaged Beirut apartment. She's sharp and sour and not especially likeable, but what redeems her is her love of music and books, especially the latter. Her life story is punctuated by her musings on art, and by the inescapable intrusions of the brutal real world. * Mail on Sunday * An Unnecessary Woman dramatizes a wonderful mind at play. The mind belongs to the protagonist, and it is filled with intelligence, sharpness and strange memories and regrets. But, as in the work of Calvino and Borges, the mind is also that of the writer, the arch-creator. His tone is ironic and knowing; he is fascinated by the relationship between life and books. He is a great phrase-maker and a brilliant writer of sentences. And over all this fiercely original act of creation is the sky of Beirut throwing down a light which is both comic and tragic, alert to its own history and to its mythology, guarding over human frailty and the idea of the written word with love and wit and understanding and a rare sort of wisdom * Colm Toibin *
show more

About Rabih Alameddine

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, and I, the Divine, The Hakawati, the story collection, The Perv, and most recently, An Unnecessary Woman. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.
show more

Rating details

12,241 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 28% (3,456)
4 38% (4,638)
3 24% (2,934)
2 8% (926)
1 2% (287)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X