Against The Loveless World
Author: Susan Abulhawa
Genre: Historical fiction, Political Fiction
Publishers: Atria Books
Publication Date: 25th August, 2020
She is Nahr. A daughter to Palestinian refugees. A devoted sister who’d die for her brother.
She is Yaqoot. Whose father died in the arms of his mistress. Whose husband left her.
She is Almas. Diamond. Men die for her beauty and body. They pay to see her dance and for her body. This is how she pays her bills.
Our protagonist is the amalgamation of so many women whom the author interviewed. The author blended fact and fiction into one to create the representation of living a life in a war torn country.
True to the title, this is the journey of Nahr against the loveless world. A story so raw, gritty, dark, graphic, hard to read, and poignant. She was born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugees and her life is floating adrift in Kuwait and Jordan, and finally she feels a sense of belonging in Palestine. Nahr faces the wrath of men and the Israeli government. Her family is uprooted from Kuwait and displaced to Jordan. It only keeps getting worse when she reaches Palestine where she joins the resistance.
In the beginning, Nahr is held captive in prison and there she recounts her story from childhood leading up to the prison. Imagine being in solitary confinement for 16 years. She was going crazy and it showed because she was humanizing the showers and lights present in the prison cell. Loneliness would do that to anyone.
This book has so many unique and compelling characters but Um Buraq was definitely the most interesting and contrasting character in this book for me. She was so cruel and kind at the same time to Nahr. She was a villain and yet a guardian to Nahr. I couldn’t decide whether to love her or hate her. But there were other characters whom you either love or hate. Bilal is someone to love but Itamar is someone to hate. We get a diverse cast of characters who plays their part in the story.
This book is a must read to educate ourselves about the grim reality of Palestinians and how much injustice they still continue to suffer. Also to educate about their culture. This is a haunting story with a bittersweet ending that will stay with you long after you’ve finish reading the book.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars