A Word for Love

A Word for Love

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"A mesmerizing debut set in Syria on the cusp of the unrest, A Word for Love is the spare and exquisitely told story of a young American woman transformed by language, risk, war, and a startling new understanding of love. It is said there are ninety-nine Arabic words for love. Bea, an American exchange student, has learned them all: in search of deep feeling, she travels to a Middle Eastern country known to hold the "The Astonishing Text," an ancient, original manuscript of a famous Arabic love story that is said to move its best readers to tears. But once in this foreign country, Bea finds that instead of intensely reading Arabic she is entwined in her host family's complicated lives--as they lock the doors, and whisper anxiously about impending revolution. And suddenly, instead of the ancient love story she sought, it is her daily witness of a contemporary Romeo and Juliet-like romance--between a housemaid and policeman of different cultural and political backgrounds--that astonishes her, changes her, and makes her weep. But as the country drifts toward explosive unrest, Bea wonders how many secrets she can keep, and how long she can fight for a romance that does not belong to her. Ultimately, in a striking twist, Bea's own story begins to mirror that of "The Astonishing Text" that drew her there in the first place--not in the role of one of the lovers, as she might once have imagined, but as the character who lives to tell the story long after the lovers have gone. With melodic meditation on culture, language, and familial devotion. Robbins delivers a powerful novel that questions what it means to love from afar, to be an outsider within a love story, and to take someone else's passion and cradle it until it becomes your own"--
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2017.
ISBN: 9781594633584
Branch Call Number: FIC ROBB
Characteristics: 1 volume


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May 08, 2018

It was a poignant and moving story about a family in Syria - just prior to the horrific civil war we are now witnessing. Baba (father) is one of those very brave people who put justice and democracy ahead of personal gain or freedom. Although the story mainly around the love that the maid has for a Syrian soldier, the pain and suffering of those in this desperate situation.

ArapahoeJane Dec 30, 2016

What an interesting look at the life of one Arabic-speaking family in an unnamed country. It's a deep dive into the relationships in a household and what it means to live in community. I always enjoy books written about Americans who live abroad or non-Americans who move here. The contrasts in culture are not just about the surface five F's (food, fashion, famous people, festivals, and flags). This book explores politics, norms, beliefs, and ways of thinking told from the point of view of an American student living with a family.

PimaLib_KatherineB Dec 20, 2016

This was a quick read that was enjoyable despite being bittersweet or melancholic in nature. Initially I had some difficulty with the writing style but as soon as I realized the writer was imitating the repetitive, lyrical text, of the famous text the main character was seeking, I actually found the style to enhance the storytelling.


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