The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor
Aspiring photographer Dunya Noor discovers early on that her curious spirit, rebellious nature, and very curly hair are a recipe for disaster in 1980s Syria. And at the tender age of thirteen, she is exiled to live with her grandparents in England.
Many years later in London, she meets Hilal, the son of a humble tailor from Aleppo and no match for Dunya, daughter of a famous heart surgeon. But, dreamy, restless Dunya falls in love with Hilal and they decide to return to Syria together, embarking on a journey that will change them both forever.
Rana Haddad’s vivid and satirical debut novel captures the essence of life under the Assad dictatorship, in all its rigid absurdity, with humor and an unexpected playfulness.
“An amazing book . . . peppered with satire and comic moments . . . [you] understand that there is so much more to this extraordinary country [Syria] than just war.”—Sanam Shantyaei, Middle East Matters, France24
"Quirky, very readable...I recommend The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor for its lightness of tone and the weight of its concerns. And because it’s part set in Lattakia – not many novels wear that particular honor."—Robin Yassin-Kassab, Qunfuz
“Very enjoyable reading . . . it is to be hoped that we will see more from Rana Haddad.” —The Modern Novel
"I loved this book! Magical writing and such a beautiful story. Thank you for this novel whose characters with their glorious curly hair will stay with me! Read this."—Mona Eltahawy
“A vivid debut . . . infused not only with comedy but with a gentle lyricism. This is a story about love in its many shades, its pleasures and its pain, and how it feels to have the political intrude upon the intimately personal.”—i News
"Telling satire for anyone who knows Syria.”—Gareth Smyth, The Arab Weekly
"While Haddad's novel depicts the context of Syria's conflict, aspects of it could be happening anywhere. For this is not so much a novel about Syria, but a novel about the strangeness and difference between what is said and unsaid, what is understood and what is not.” —Usman Butt, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed
“[An] exceptional debut novel. Satirical and witty . . . there is a skillful lightness to Haddad’s writing.” —Arab News