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Flying Carpets
Hedy Habra

published 2013 5.25" x 8" • 208 pages
ISBN 9781566569576 • paperback • $15.00


Flying Carpets is a story collection in the grand tradition of Arab storytelling. In it, Habra masterfully waves her writing wand and takes us on a journey as we read about people and places far away and encounter temples and mountain villages, gliding boats and fragrant kitchens, flaming fish and rich tapestries.

The stories recover lost, partially forgotten and imaginary spaces, progressing from the concrete to the universal. The first two sections move between Egypt and Lebanon with a touch of magic realism. In the second half of the collection, the characters become less rooted in time and space as the dreamlike elements intensify. Throughout the book, storytelling and fortunetelling evoke a mythical past that is at the same time lost yet alive: love, loss, the yearning for alternate worlds, and the need to reinvent oneself through art permeate its pages.

Hedy Habra was born in Egypt and is of Lebanese origin. She is the author of a poetry collection, Tea in Heliopolis, and a book of literary criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa. She has an MA and an MFA in English and an MA and PhD in Spanish literature, all from Western Michigan University, where she currently teaches. She is the recipient of WMU’s All-University Research and Creative Scholar Award. She has published more than 150 poems and short stories in journals and anthologies, including Cutthroat, Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Cider Press Review and Poet Lore.

Praise for Flying Carpets

“Surveying what appears as familiar ground, Hedy Habra's Flying Carpets plunge deep into the bygone and the irrecoverable. Steeped in childhood memories of Egypt and Lebanon, and intensified in the act of fictional recollection, Habra's stories are joyous and tragic at once, witty and profound. In Habra we have a Sheherazad of our times, not one trying to save her life, but one intent on bringing enchantment, gravitas, and sensitivity to ours. This is a book full of marvels, beautifully written."
—Khaled Mattawa, author of Amorisco and Tocqueville

“Hedy Habra's Flying Carpets is a collection of enchantments and wonders charmingly recounted, deeply imagined, and composed with lyrical exactitude. It belongs to that rare tradition of books whose spells grow increasingly seductive with each new story.”
—Stuart Dybek, author of Coast of Chicago and Sailing With Magellan

“Hedy Habra’s moving, lovely stories emerge from her history as a Middle Eastern writer exposed to the varied cultures of Egypt, Lebanon, Belgium, Greece, and the United States, fluent in French, Arabic, Spanish and English.  She draws together in this volume vivid images, events, and voices in a compelling, parti-colored vision that evokes time and place like the haunting recollections from a dream.”
—Arnold Johnston, author of The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns and What the Earth Taught Us (poems)

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