In this elegant, incisive debut, a young girl comes of age while aching for a sense of belonging. Daughter of an Iraqi father and an English mother, the unnamed narrator struggles with isolation both in the traditional Iraqi countryside where she’s raised and at the Western school of music and ballet that her mother insists she attend. Though she finds some semblance of solace in dance, her trials increase when her family moves to Baghdad. Then comes the outbreak of war, which compels her to move with her mother to England, where her most pointed heartaches await. Gently poetic but emotionally unflinching, A Sky So Close is a daringly fresh look into the clash between East and West and into the soul of a woman formed by two cultures yet fully accepted by neither.
About the Author
BETOOL KHEDAIRI was born in Baghdad in 1965 to an Iraqi father and a Scottish mother. She received a B.A. in French literature from the University of Mustansiriya and then traveled between Iraq, Jordan and the United Kingdom. She worked in the food industry while writing her first novel, A Sky So Close, published in Arabic in 1999 and now translated into English, Italian, French and Dutch. She currently lives in Amman, Jordan.
MUHAYMAN JAMIL was born in Baghdad. He is currently an associate specialist in palliative medicine in London.
“A lush first novel . . . both impressionistic and accomplished.” --The New York Times
“A memorable book about growing up between two cultures.” —Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered
“[V]ividly rendered . . . . [Q]uiet yet powerful.” —Booklist
"[An] assured first novel . . . a valuable book . . . .What's most remarkable here is the buoyancy that Khedairi sustains even as her child heroine grows up." --LA Times