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Rabih Alameddine

An Unnecessary Woman

A happily misanthropic Middle East divorcee finds refuge in books in a “beautiful and absorbing” novel of late-life crisis (The New York Times).
Aaliya is a divorced, childless, and reclusively cranky translator in Beirut nurturing doubts about her latest project: a 900-page avant-garde, linguistically serpentine historiography by a late Chilean existentialist. Honestly, at seventy-two, should she be taking on such a project? Not that Aailiya fears dying. Women in her family live long; her mother is still going crazy. But on this lonely day, hour-by-hour, Aaliya’s musings on literature, philosophy, her career, and her aging body, are suddenly invaded by memories of her volatile past. As she tries in vain to ward off these emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.
In this “meditation on, among other things, aging, politics, literature, loneliness, grief and resilience” (The New York Times), Alameddine conjures “a beguiling narrator . . . who is, like her city, hard to read, hard to take, hard to know and, ultimately, passionately complex” (San Francisco Chronicle). A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award, An Unnecessary Woman is “a fun, and often funny . . . grave, powerful . . . [and] extraordinary” Washington Independent Review of Books) ode to literature and its power to define who we are. “Read it once, read it twice, read other books for a decade or so, and then pick it up and read it anew. This one’s a keeper” (The Independent)
300 halaman cetak
Publikasi asli
2014
Tahun publikasi
2014
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Kutipan

  • Soliloquios Literariosmembuat kutipan4 tahun yang lalu
    Ecstasy and intimacy are ineffable as well, ephemeral and fleeting. Ahmad and I didn’t repeat our interlude, never resumed the exploration. He won what he wanted, as did I.

    Yeats once said, “The tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.”

    We lie down with hope and wake up with lies.
  • Soliloquios Literariosmembuat kutipan4 tahun yang lalu
    During the war in Beirut, the powerful had power, but only those with true power had water.
  • Soliloquios Literariosmembuat kutipan4 tahun yang lalu
    How can one describe the ephemeral qualities of sex beyond the probing, poking, and panting? How can one use inadequate words to describe the ineffable, the beyond words? Those salacious Arabs and their Western counterparts were able to explain the technical aspects, which is helpful, of course, and delightful. Some touched on the spiritual, on the psychological, and metaphor was loved by all. However, to believe that words can in any way mirror or, alas, explain the infinite mystery of sex is akin to believing that reading dark notes on paper can illuminate a Bach partita, or that by studying composition or color one can understand a late Rembrandt self-portrait. Sex, like art, can unsettle a soul, can grind a heart in a mortar. Sex, like literature, can sneak the other within one’s walls, even if for only a moment, a moment before one immures oneself again.

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