Book Size: 5.25" x 8"

Pages: 224

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781566567008

Imprint: Interlink Books

Edition: 1

Translator: Michelle Hartman

Category:

Wild Mulberries

By

$ 13.95

“…offers a vivid snapshot of life from another era in Lebanon’s mountain villages overlooking the Mediterranean Sea….Particularly striking is the strong focus on women’s experiences within Lebanese society through multiple generations. It is both an examination of shifting traditional and complicated lines of gender in Lebanese society and an insightful, often beautiful portrayal of women’s social bonds during another era.” – Hour

About this book

Sarah is on the brink of adulthood in her village in the mountains of Lebanon in the 1930s, a world itself hesitating on the verge of change.


Her father the shaykh is uninterested in anything but the silkworms he's always raised, no matter that each year they're worth less. Her conservative aunt worries only about the family's reputation, fearing that Sarah will take after her mother, who ran away twelve years ago and has been unheard of since. Sarah's brother dreams of going abroad, but each year finds himself still trapped in the family business. Around her the village--Druze and Christian, Lebanese and English--grows poorer, its traditions no longer able to sustain it. Sarah's hopes for the future have come to rely either on marriage, or finding the mother she can't remember.


In Younes's textured, lyrical prose, the story of one young woman's coming of age becomes a meditation on a nation's hardship, on home and freedom, hope and loss. Younes brings to intense life this lost world and the women at its center, whose lives have disappeared from history, from their own grasp.

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About the authors

Iman Humaydan Younes is a Lebanese novelist and freelance journalist. Her first novel Baa Mithl Beit Mithl Beirut (B for Bait for Beirut) received wide international acclaim and was translated into English, French and German. Wild Mulberries is her second novel. Her third novel, Haywat Okhra (Other Lives), will be released in Beirut in 2008 by Al Massar.

Many of her short stories appeared in the cultural pages of Lebanese and Arabic newspapers and magazines such as Mulhak An Nahar, As Safir, Al Hasna’a, and Sayidati. Younes studied anthropology at the American University of Beirut. She wrote Neither Here Nor There: Narratives of the Families of the Disappeared in Lebanon and conducted and published studies on environmental and development issues of post-war Lebanon.

Michelle Hartman is Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature and Language at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. Her main area of research is Modern Arabic Literature, specializing in Lebanese women's writing. She is the translator (with Maher Barakat) of Muhammad Kamil al-Khatib's acclaimed novel Just Like a River.

Reviews

“…offers a vivid snapshot of life from another era in Lebanon’s mountain villages overlooking the Mediterranean Sea….Particularly striking is the strong focus on women’s experiences within Lebanese society through multiple generations. It is both an examination of shifting traditional and complicated lines of gender in Lebanese society and an insightful, often beautiful portrayal of women’s social bonds during another era.” – Hour

“With the verge of adulthood comes the pressure of being responsible for oneself and not shaming one’s family. Sarah must deal with all of this in “Wild Mulberries”… She must confront difficult choices in this seminal picture of life in small town Lebanon. Highly recommended…” – Library Bookwatch

“Originally composed in Arabic, Wild Mulberries is the story of Sarah, the adolescent daughter of a Lebanese sheikh in the 1930s. Although the area has seen financial hardship because of a sharp decline in the price of silk, Sarah’s father keeps a tight grip on the household and insists on raising silk worms. His rigid dedication to the traditional method of silk production angers members of the family. As a result, Sarah flees Lebanon and the pressures of her family’s conservatism in search of a mother she’s never known. Younes provides a textured, personal window into a country on the brink of change, and a village that is holding on to its traditions despite Western influence and economic hardships.” – World Pulse

“In ‘Wild Mulberries’ and ‘B as in Beirut’, Iman Humaydan Younes narrates the dialectic between Lebanon’s capital city and its villages through the eyes of five female characters. This narrative is refracted through a history of war, the violence of industrialization and rapid economic change, and the infinitesimal injuries that only family members and spouses can inflict on one another. While ‘B as in Beirut’ unfolds during the Lebanese civil war of 1975- 1990, the narrator of ‘Wild Mulberries’ inhabits the era between two altogether different wars, World War I and World War II. “Both novels succeed in portraying the rawness of pain, mourning, and perhaps most powerfully, resignation. …Younes'”novels, particularly ‘B as in Beirut’, stand as a testament to her ability to describe in excruciating detail the terror of love and loss. While the civil war is very much in the foreground of this novel, Younes is never seduced into explaining or documenting the war as a subject in and of itself. “This self-reflexivity makes Younes an intriguing author. As novels that examine the vulnerability of human life without succumbing to the temptation to sermonize in grandiose terms about the greater meaning of war, death, and loss, ‘Wild Mulberries’ and ‘B as in Beirut’ are not to be missed.” – Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies

About the Author

Michelle Hartman is Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature and Language at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. Her main area of research is Modern Arabic Literature, specializing in Lebanese women’s writing. She is the translator (with Maher Barakat) of Muhammad Kamil al-Khatib’s acclaimed novel Just Like a River.

Additional information

Author

Yunis, Iman Humaydan

Edition

1

Inprint

Interlink Books

Pages

224

Type

PB

Translator

Hartman , Michelle

Author Home

Lebanon & France

Format

5 1/4" x 8"

Reviews

"…offers a vivid snapshot of life from another era in Lebanon's mountain villages overlooking the Mediterranean Sea….Particularly striking is the strong focus on women's experiences within Lebanese society through multiple generations. It is both an examination of shifting traditional and complicated lines of gender in Lebanese society and an insightful , often beautiful portrayal of women's social bonds during another era." – Hour * "With the verge of adulthood comes the pressure of being responsible for oneself and not shaming one's family. Sarah must deal with all of this in "Wild Mulberries"… She must confront difficult choices in this seminal picture of life in small town Lebanon. Highly recommended…" – Library Bookwatch "Originally composed in Arabic , Wild Mulberries is the story of Sarah , the adolescent daughter of a Lebanese sheikh in the 1930s. Although the area has seen financial hardship because of a sharp decline in the price of silk , Sarah's father keeps a tight grip on the household and insists on raising silk worms. His rigid dedication to the traditional method of silk production angers members of the family. As a result , Sarah flees Lebanon and the pressures of her family's conservatism in search of a mother she's never known. Younes provides a textured , personal window into a country on the brink of change , and a village that is holding on to its traditions despite Western influence and economic hardships."å – World Pulse * "In 'Wild Mulberries' and 'B as in Beirut' , Iman Humaydan Younes narrates the dialectic between Lebanon's capital city and its villages through the eyes of five female characters. This narrative is refracted through a history of war , the violence of industrialization and rapid economic change , and the infinitesimal injuries that only family members and spouses can inflict on one another. While 'B as in Beirut' unfolds during the Lebanese civil war of 1975- 1990 , the narrator of 'Wild Mulberries' inhabits the era between two altogether different wars , World War I and World War II. "Both novels succeed in portraying the rawness of pain , mourning , and perhaps most powerfully , resignation. …Younes'"novels , particularly 'B as in Beirut' , stand as a testament to her ability to describe in excruciating detail the terror of love and loss. While the civil war is very much in the foreground of this novel , Younes is never seduced into explaining or documenting the war as a subject in and of itself. "This self-reflexivity makes Younes an intriguing author. As novels that examine the vulnerability of human life without succumbing to the temptation to sermonize in grandiose terms about the greater meaning of war , death , and loss , 'Wild Mulberries' and 'B as in Beirut' are not to be missed."å – Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

MainReview

"…offers a vivid snapshot of life from another era in Lebanon's mountain villages overlooking the Mediterranean Sea….Particularly striking is the strong focus on women's experiences within Lebanese society through multiple generations. It is both an examination of shifting traditional and complicated lines of gender in Lebanese society and an insightful, often beautiful portrayal of women's social bonds during another era." – Hour *