May 4 - Mishka Mojabber - Rabih Alameddine's Unnecessary Woman
Literary Talks > 2015 Winter/Spring
Book Club: Monday 4 May 2015 (7 pm)
Title:Rabih Alameddine’s “An Unnecessary Woman” - What Defines Necessity?
Mishka Mojabber will discuss Rabih’s book and invite the audience to interact and participate in the discussion. The talk will include some readings from the novel that highlight key themes of the book. The book is available in most bookstores in Beirut. Hopefully, you can read it before the event!
Rabih Alameddine: (adapted from Wikipedia) (1959) is a Lebanese-American painter and writer. He was born in Amman and grew up in Kuwait and Lebanon, which he left at age 17 to live first in England and then in California. A lover of mathematics, he earned a degree in engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Business in San Francisco. He began his career as an engineer, then moved to writing and painting. The author of four novels and a collection of short stories, Alameddine was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. He lives in San Francisco and Beirut.
An Unnecessary Woman: (Adapted from the National Book Foundation: Click Here). Aaliya Sohbi 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. After overhearing her neighbors, “the three witches,” discussing her too-white hair, Aaliya accidentally dyes her hair too blue.
In this portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers 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.
Mishka Mojabber MouraniMishka Mojabber Mourani is an educator and writer. Her
story, “The Fragrant Garden” appeared in Hikayat (Telegram) and Lebanon Through
Writers’ Eyes (Eland, London). Her work also appeared in Habiter Beyrouth?
(Assabil) and La Mediterranée au Carrefour Des Mots (Assabil-Kitabat).
She has published Balconies: A Mediterranean Memoir (Dar An-Nahar) Her work
appeared in Mused Literary Review "An Old Box of Antiques", and
Arabic Literature in English: "Global Story Behind A Bilingual Book of
Poems" , and "Teta, Did You Know Aleppo?"
She co-authored a poetry collection entitled Alone, Together (Kutub), a project
in which Aida Y. Haddad translated Mourani’s poetry from English to Arabic, and
vice versa. The short story "Fatma's Fate" appeared in The Studio Voice,
"From its shore I saw Jerusalem" in Your Middle East, "One
is Not Born a Beiruti" in Sukoon Magazine, "Letter to My
Father" in Cedar World Magazine, "Stone Walls Do Not A Memory
Make" in Rowayat, and "Once Upon A War Night" in the
anthology Exquisite Corpse, published by Medusa’s Laugh Press. She writes
about identity, memory, exile and the effect of war on the lives of