The Locust and the Bird - BY HANAN AL-SHAYKH
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In The Locust and the Bird, Hanan al-Shaykh recreates the life of her mother, Kamila, in Kamila’s own voice. We enter 1930s Beirut through the eyes of a spirited ten-year-old who arrives from a small village in southern Lebanon. We see her drawn to the excitements of the city, to the thrill of the cinema, and, most powerfully, to Muhammad, the young man who will be the love of her life. Despite a forced marriage at thirteen to a much older man, despite the two daughters she bears him (one of them being Hanan, the author), and despite the scandal and embarrassment she causes, Kamila continues to see Mohammad. Her husband finally grants her a divorce, but she must leave her children. As the narrative unfolds over the years (Kamila died in 2001), we follow this passionate, demanding, and captivating woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of her life.