West of the Jordan

West of the Jordan

3.41 (169 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is a brilliant and revelatory first novel by a woman who is both an Arab and an American, who speaks with both voices and understands both worlds. Through the narratives of four cousins at the brink of maturity, Laila Halaby immerses her readers in the lives, friendships, and loves of girls struggling with national, ethnic, and sexual identities. Mawal is the stable one, living steeped in the security of Palestinian traditions in the West Bank. Hala is torn between two worlds-in love in Jordan, drawn back to the world she has come to love in Arizona. Khadija is terrified by the sexual freedom of her American friends, but scarred, both literally and figuratively, by her father's abusive behavior. Soraya is lost in trying to forge an acceptable life in a foreign yet familiar land, in love with her own uncle, and unable to navigate the fast culture of California youth. Interweaving their stories, allowing us to see each cousin from multiple points of view, Halaby creates a compelling and entirely original story, a window into the rich and complicated Arab world.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 12.7mm | 272.15g
  • Beacon Press
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • English
  • 0807083593
  • 9780807083598
  • 784,159

About Laila Halaby

Laila Halaby was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Jordanian father and an American mother. She speaks four languages, won a Fulbright scholarship to study folklore in Jordan, and holds a master's degree in Arabic literature. Her first novel, West of the Jordan, won the prestigious PEN Beyond Margins Award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her family.show more

Review quote

Halaby's choice to alertnate the narratives of the four young women offers real characterizations to latch onto, and her prose, often lyrical--particularly when the speakers relate other people's stories--deepens the complications of history and heritage. Contemplative and lush, this coming-of-age tale resonates with the challenges of cross-cultural life.show more

Rating details

169 ratings
3.41 out of 5 stars
5 15% (26)
4 30% (51)
3 37% (63)
2 15% (25)
1 2% (4)
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