World Fiction (www.interlinkbooks.com)
Sarah is on the brink of adulthood in her village in the mountains of Lebanon in the 1930s, a world hesitating on the verge of change. Her father the sheikh is uninterested in anything but the silkworm he's always raised; her conservative aunt worried 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.
Iman Humaydan Younes is a Lebanese novelist, short-story writer, and freelance journalist. She is the author of B as in Beirut. Michelle Hartman is associate professor of Arabic literature and language at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. She co-translated Muhammad Kamil al Khatib's Just Like a River.