Rabih Alameddine - An Unnecessary Woman - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781472119216
    • Publication date:17 Nov 2014

An Unnecessary Woman

By Rabih Alameddine

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

Rabih Alameddine follows his international bestseller The Hakawati with an enchanting story of the life of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old, blue-haired 'unnecessary woman', living in Beirut. This is a novel to savour.

Aaliya Saleh 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 favourite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read - by anyone.

This breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman follows Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colourful 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 ageing body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.

A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, the prodigiously gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a magnificent rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East.

Biographical Notes

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, and I, the Divine, The Hakawati, the story collection, The Perv, and most recently, An Unnecessary Woman. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781472119209
  • Publication date: 01 Feb 2015
  • Page count: 304
  • Imprint: Corsair
Book lovers will adore this moving tale ... Aaliya is a sympathetic character but never a pitiful one, recognisable yet also unique. — Independent on Sunday
The narrator of this exquisitely written novel, Aaliya, is an old woman who lives alone by choice in her war-damaged Beirut apartment. She's sharp and sour and not especially likeable, but what redeems her is her love of music and books, especially the latter. Her life story is punctuated by her musings on art, and by the inescapable intrusions of the brutal real world. — Mail on Sunday
An Unnecessary Woman dramatizes a wonderful mind at play. The mind belongs to the protagonist, and it is filled with intelligence, sharpness and strange memories and regrets. But, as in the work of Calvino and Borges, the mind is also that of the writer, the arch-creator. His tone is ironic and knowing; he is fascinated by the relationship between life and books. He is a great phrase-maker and a brilliant writer of sentences. And over all this fiercely original act of creation is the sky of Beirut throwing down a light which is both comic and tragic, alert to its own history and to its mythology, guarding over human frailty and the idea of the written word with love and wit and understanding and a rare sort of wisdom — Colm Toibin
Corsair

The Angel of History

Rabih Alameddine
Authors:
Rabih Alameddine

'A profoundly beautiful novel that infolds the political with the personal in unexpected and new ways . . . An extraordinary book' Neel Mukherjee, New Statesman, 'Books of the Year 2016''His stories take the reader into the labyrinth that is the mind . . . The Angel of History is digressive and daring' the Economist'Alameddine has created a scintillating, original work whose moral complexity and detail of observation are wholly contemporary and entirely his own' SpectatorSet over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana'a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis. This is a profound, philosophical and hilariously winning story of the war between memory and oblivion we wrestle with every day of our lives.'Here is a book, full of story, unrepentantly political at every level. At a time when many western writers seem to be in retreat from saying anything that could be construed as political, Alameddine says it all, shamelessly, gloriously and, realised like his Satan, in the most stylish of forms' the Guardian

Abacus

Koolaids

Rabih Alameddine
Authors:
Rabih Alameddine

Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins is a former Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of the Tampa Tribune. He published his first novel at the age of 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family.

Ali McNamara

Ali McNamara attributes her over-active and very vivid imagination to one thing - being an only child. Time spent dreaming up adventures when she was young has left her with a head bursting with stories waiting to be told.When stories she wrote for fun on Ronan Keating's website became so popular they were sold as a fundraising project for his cancer awareness charity, Ali realised that not only was writing something she enjoyed doing, but something others enjoyed reading too. Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and two Labradors. When she isn't writing, she likes to travel, read, and people-watch, more often than not accompanied by a good cup of coffee. Her dogs and a love of exercise keep her sane!To find out more about Ali visit her website: www.alimcnamara.co.uk or follow her on Twitter: @AliMcNamara

Barbara Cardy

BARBARA CARDY originally trained in art, design and construction, before moving through a variety of careers. To date, she has edited twenty-seven anthologies of various kinds. She lives in Kent with her two boys.

Cath Staincliffe

Cath Staincliffe is an award winning novelist, radio playwright and creator of ITV's hit series Blue Murder. Cath's books have been shortlisted for the CWA Best First Novel award. She was joint winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2012. Letters To My Daughter's Killer was selected for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club on ITV3 in 2014. Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey books based on the popular ITV series. She lives with her family in Manchester.

Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan's Tales series, Deathless and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

Celia Brayfield

Celia Brayfield is a bestselling novelist and a journalist. Her most recent novels, GETTING HOME, SUNSET and HEARTSWAP were published to great critical acclaim by Little Brown. She has one daughter and lives and works in London.

Charlotte Rogan

Charlotte Rogan studied architecture at Princeton University and worked for a large construction firm before turning to fiction. She is the author of The Lifeboat, which was nominated for the Guardian first book award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and which has been translated into twenty-six languages. After many years in Dallas and a year in Johannesburg, she now lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Chevy Stevens

Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island with her husband and daughter. When she's not working on her next book, she's camping and canoeing with her family in the local mountains. Her debut novel, Still Missing, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel.

Christobel Kent

Christobel Kent was born in London and educated at Cambridge. She has lived variously in Essex, London and Italy. Her childhood included several years spent on a Thames sailing barge in Maldon, Essex with her father, stepmother, three siblings and four step-siblings. She now lives in both Cambridge and Florence with her husband and five children.

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of the hugely popular Morland Dynasty novels, which have captivated and enthralled readers for decades. She is also the author of the contemporary Bill Slider Mystery series, as well as her new series, War at Home, which is an epic family drama set against the backdrop of World War I. Cynthia's passions are music, wine, horses, architecture and the English countryside.

Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest. He received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He worked in elementary education for eighteen years, winning awards for his innovative teaching, and became a full-time writer in 1987. Dan lives in Colorado with his wife, Karen, and has a daughter in her twenties. His books are published in twenty-nine counties and many of them have been optioned for film.

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

E. L. Doctorow

E. L. Doctorow's novels include Andrew's Brain, Homer and Langley, The March, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, Lives of the Poets, World's Fair, Billy Bathgate and The Waterworks. Among his honours are the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. He died in July 2015.

Elizabeth Moon

Elizabeth Moon served in the US Marine Corps, reaching the rank of 1st Lieutenant during active duty. She has also earned degrees in history and biology, run for public office and been a columnist on her local newspaper. She lives near Austin, Texas, with her husband and their son. Twenty-six of her books are in print, and she won the Nebula Award with her science fiction novel Speed of Dark (also shortlisted for the Clarke Award), and was a finalist for the Hugo in 1997.

Emma Blair

Emma Blair was a pen name for Scottish actor and author Iain Blair, who began writing in his spare time and whose first novel, Where No Man Cries, was published in 1982. During a writing career spanning three decades he produced some thirty novels, but his true identity remained a secret until 1998 when his novel Flower of Scotland was nominated for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award. He was one of Britain's most popular authors and his books among the most borrowed from libraries. Iain Blair died in July 2011.

Iain Banks

Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, translated into 73 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films. She has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry's schoolbooks within the novels. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages were published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. In December 2008, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published in aid of the Children's High Level Group, and quickly became the fastest selling book of the year.

Jane Gardam

Jane Gardam has been awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize for a lifetime's contribution to the enjoyment of literature; has twice won a Whitbread Award and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.