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The Locust and the Bird


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About the Author

HANAN AL-SHAYKH was born and raised in Lebanon. Her novels include "Women of Sand
and Myrrh, The Story of Zahra, Beirut Blues, "and" Only in London," as well as a collection of short stories, "I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops." She lives in London.


"[Hanan al-Shaykh] masterfully blends Arabic parable and Western resolve to enter her illiterate mother's mind and heart, writing what [her mother] could not. "The Locust and the Bird" conquers the distance between mother and daughter, revealing the tragedies that can ensue when cultural machismo forces brave women into impossible choices."
--Jayne Anne Phillips, "More"
"While I was reading Hanan's book, my regret as an author was not to have known Kamila, Hanan's mother, the extravagant narrator of this book. What a Woman!!! What a storyteller!!! When I finished the book I had one major thought: this the kind of story one needs to be a real Lebanese in order to turn it into a movie. That was my other regret as a movie maker. But most of all I felt extremely lucky to spend time with someone so intelligent, full of humor and love."
--Marjane Satrapi, author of "Persepolis"
"A vital novel about the lives of Arabic families. . . . [It] burns with truth on so many levels, it would be sad indeed if this book did not make its way into many, many handbags. . . . Forgiveness--not anger--saturates this book like a perfume; every character is desperately, vulnerably human. Al-Shaykh's triumph is that she retrieves her mother's wisdom--a wondrous lesson for grown daughters everywhere. ["The Locust and the Bird"]""has a warmth that crosses cultures and feels like a pure, shining blast of sun."
--"Los Angeles Times
""A tale of female independence. . . . Deeply reflective and moving. . . . Al-Shaykh climbs into the body of her mother, skillfully re-creating the voice of a talented and charismatic storyteller. . . . Our unconventional mothers may make choices that damage our hearts, but as al-Shaykh shows us, those same choices can ultimately save us from a fate such as theirs. We can honor them by holding the nuances of their lives up to the light. We can become what they could not become. In doing so, we set them free."
--"San Francisco Chronicle

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