by Hanan al-Shaykh
Translated by Catherine Cobham
Allen & Unwin, 1995, ISBN 1863738460, paperback with wraps
Very Good Condition, a little edge and shelf wear, no inscriptions, age toned pages, un-creased spine, (see photographs)
“Asmahan writes letters, desperately, eloquently, compellingly, to make sense of her life and to bring magic into it. But she also writes to throw light on the war which is tearing apart her country and to recapture her memories of old Beirut – its architecture, its smells, its people, its glory – before they fade.
In these evocative, sensual, funny and poignant letters she conjures up with disarming honesty a woman’s life and loves in a war-torn city, and her sense of being a hostage in her own country. Beirut with its fighters fundamentalists, hostages, Palestinians, Syrians, Israelis, Iranians, emerges as demons playground; a mass of passionate convictions and contradictions reflected in Amahan herself, and in the extraordinary women who surround her – the proud but resigned grandmother with whom she identifies, the singer Ruhiyya, young Juhayna who wants a better life, old Zemzem who has to choose between her Moulinex and a pet quail.”