Monday, December 12, 2011

The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story by Hanan Al-Shaykh

Synopsis at

My mother wrote this book. She did not want my voice; she wanted the beat of her own heart, her anxieties and laughter, her dreams and nightmares. She wanted her own voice. 

Brought up in poverty in a village in southern Lebanon, Kamila never had the opportunity to go to school, although she longed to. 

She was nine years old when she moved to Beirut and only eleven when her brothers tricked her into getting engaged to a man - her uncle, eighteen years her senior. Kamila was expected to be stone-bearing donkey - to live a domestic life. 

But it is the sounds, stories and imagery of poetry and films, and a beautiful boy called Muhammad, that fascinate Kamila. Muhammad is enchanted by her spirited and wily nature and they fall in love. 

Despite scratching, screaming, biting and crying, Kamila's battle against her arranged marriage is fruitless. At fourteen she is forced to marry and share her husband's bed. That night, her first daughter is conceived. 

Her second, Hanan, is born three years later. 

What follows is an incredible story of love and loss, tragedy, community and strength.Risking their lives Kamila and Muhammad continue to see each other in secret, sharing ideas, poetry and laughter. 

It takes eight years before Kamila can bring herself to divorce her husband, as to do so means abandoning her daughters. Evoking the dusty streets of Beirut and the fabric of life in Lebanon this is a remarkable and moving memoir about an extraordinary woman told with heartbreaking insight and raw honesty.

My Comment :

I bought this book from the Big Bad Wolf Warehouse Sale 2011. In fact, I bought this book twice. Guess I just fell in love with the cover.

However, I am glad to have bought this book coz to me it is a good book.

Many books that I have read, the woman involve are from Royal family or some rich family who are forced to marry a brute. However, this is the story of a woman from a poor family standing up for what she believe is right for her.

It's really amazing to read of her life journey. She is not a Saint but she have a good heart. There are time where she is ruthless in chasing her love. 

The book makes me feel like I can relate to what she had gone through. Despite all the heart break and tough life, she managed to create happiness for herself.

Don't say I didn't warn you. Better get ready a box of tissue paper when you start reading this book.


Admin said...

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Small Kucing said...


Thanks from dropping comments here:)

Farah said...

Thanks for the review..sounds like a good book although I've never read Lebanon based fiction before..will have to read my book as well..currently am reading The Great Lover by Jill Dawson bought at the aftermath sale..

MQ -

Small Kucing said...


For me it was good la.


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