One of the Middle East's most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine follows his international bestseller, "The Hakawati," with an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old "unnecessary" woman.
Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family's "unnecessary appendage." Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read by anyone.
In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman's late-life crisis, listeners follow Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya's own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.
A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, the prodigiously gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a nuanced rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East.
About the Author
Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, I, the Divine, and The Hakawati, and the story collection The Perv.
Suzanne Toren has over 30 years of experience in recording. She won the American Foundation for the Blind's Scourby Award for Narrator of the Year in 1988, and "AudioFile" magazine named her the 2009 Best Voice in Nonfiction & Culture. She is also the recipient of multiple Earphones Awards. Her many credits include works by Jane Smiley, Margaret Weis, Jerry Spinelli, Barbara Kingsolver, and Cynthia Rylant. "AudioFile "also raves, "Toren brings a distinguishing warmth and power to her narrations. Her talents extend to both fiction and nonfiction, and in her recording career of 30-plus years she has given listeners heart-wrenching memoirs, lively history, engaging light fiction, and involving mysteries." Toren also performs on and off-Broadway and in regional theatres.