'An Unnecessary Woman' dramatizes a wonderful mind at play. The mind belongs to the protagonist, and it is filled with intelligence, sharpness and strange memories and regrets... And over all this fiercely original act of creation is the sky of Beirut throwing down a light which is both comic and tragic, alert to its own history and to its mythology, guarding over human frailty and the idea of the written word with love and wit and understanding and a rare sort of wisdom.
An Unnecessary Woman will be available in English in January 2014
In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat returns to Beirut after many years in America to stand vigil at his father's deathbed. As the family gathers, stories begin to unfold: Osama's grandfather was a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching tales are interwoven with classic stories of the Middle East. With The Hakawati, Rabih Alameddine has given us an Arabian Nights for this century.
Named by her grandfather after the "divine" Sarah Bernhardt, red-haired Sarah Nour El-Din is feisty, rebellious, individualistic - a person determined to make of her life a work of art. In I, the Divine, she tries to tell her story, sometimes casting it as a memoir, sometimes a novel, full of sly humor and dark realism, always beguilingly incomplete.