- Brooklyn Heights
Winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction
Hind, newly arrived in New York with her eight-year-old son, several suitcases of unfinished manuscripts, and hardly any English, finds a room in a Brooklyn teeming with people like her who dream of becoming writers.
As she discovers the various corners of her new home, they conjure up parallel memories from her childhood and her small Bedouin village in the Nile Delta: Emilia who sells used shoes at the flea market smells like Zeinab, the old woman who worked for Hind’s grandfather; the reflection of her own body as she dances tango awakens the awkwardness of her relationship to that body across the years; the story of Lilette, the Egyptian bourgeoise who has lost her memory, prompts Hind to safeguard her own.
Through this kaleidoscopic spectrum of disadvantaged characters we encounter unique but familiar life histories in this award-winning and intensely moving novel of displacement and exile.
Miral al-Tahawy is the author of The Tent (AUC Press, 1998) and Blue Aubergine (AUC Press, 2002). She is professor of Arabic at the School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University.
Samah Selim is the translator of Memories of a Meltdown: An Egyptian between Moscow and Chernobyl by Mohamed Makhzangi (AUC Press, 2006). She won the 2009 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for her translation of The Collar and the Bracelet, and the 2011 University of Arkansas Press Award for Arabic Literature in Translation for her translation of Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt.
"Al-Tahawy's narrative highlights the fissures between east and west, exploring cultural, religious and sexual differences. Hend, with her superstitious fatalism and borderline hysteria, is an awkward and often unattractive character, but her fears, dissatisfactions and vulnerabilities have an uncomfortable ring of truth."—The Guardian
“A deeply affecting look at isolation, friendship and love.” —The Times
"Brooklyn Heights is memorable, not only for giving voice to marginal, oppressed, sometimes silent female characters but for evoking a vanishing world of those forced to leave their homeland. It is filled with the 'winds of longing' and distinctive scents."—Al-Ahram Weekly
"A powerful and realistic portrayal of emigration and the process of adapting to a new place."—The UBS Review of Books
"A novel to be embraced."—Mmegi Online