Rabih Alameddine

NWPR Books
5:00 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

A Widow's Quiet Life Leaves Room For Sex, Guns And Literature

iStockphoto

As of last week, what I knew about Beirut could fit in a sandwich bag. What I knew about being a blue-haired, 72-year-old woman, never mind a widow and a shut-in, was a whole lot less. Now, one week later, I'm much more informed, and I'm happy to encourage you to become so, too.

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NWPR Books
3:42 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

'Unnecessary Woman' Lives On The Margins, Enveloped In Books

Trinette Reed iStockphoto

Aaliyah lives in the heart of Lebanon's capital, but she is cut off from parties, war and family.

The title character of Rabih Alameddine's new novel spends her days alone in her Beirut apartment. She translates her favorite books into Arabic, and her manuscripts pile up, unsold. At 72, the former bookstore employee is long divorced without any children.

"She fell in love with books," Alameddine says. "So this is a woman who, whether it is by choice or by circumstance, has been forced into the margins of society."

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