Fiction. Middle Eastern Studies. The state war raging outside the home of the Al-Fakhoury extended family, which lives in a border town buffeted by the turmoil of the Arab Spring, entwines with the familial conflict raging within. The patriarch of the family, Mohammed, is an aggressive, dominant man who bullies his wife and four children and wages paranoiac diatribes against his sister and her family. It is only when Mohammed leaves for work every morning that the house relaxes into the rich inter-connectivity of familial relationships: between Mohammed's wife Fatima and his sister Rana, who yearns desperately to contribute to their country's historic fight for freedom; between the twelve-year-old twins and Rana's gentle son Mazin, whose effeminacy is a source of great anxiety to her. Ahmed, Mohammed's brother, is an active and passionate participant in the protests, demanding their country's dictator step down and make way for democracy. When Ahmed is involved in a terrible incident during a demonstration, he wakes up in an underground cavern, surrounded by groaning, dying men stretched out on blankets on the floor, and is stunned by what he discovers there.
Charlotte R. Mendel was born in Canada, and has lived in England, France and Israel. Her first novel, Turn Us Again, won the H.R. Percy Novel Prize, the Beacon Award for Social Justice, and the Atlantic Book Award for First Novel. She lives in Enfield, Nova Scotia, with six goats, two cats, eleven chickens, thousands of bees, two children, and one husband.Author City: Enfield, NS CAN