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 Mendel is a traveller, an author, a parent, a farmer, a teacher and an environmental activist. Her two published adult novels have both won prizes; her first YA novel, Reversing Time was published by Guernica Editions in 2021. Charlotte has lived in Nova Scotia for 20 years and raised two wonderful children; this year she left her partner of 32 years and is in transit-her first destination is Europe.