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Muslim Journeys: Bridging Cultures Bookshelf   Tags: islamic art, literature, middle east  

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Points of View

Developed by Deborah Amos, international correspondent, National Public Radio.

The drama of conflict, chaos, and war come to Western readers in daily newspaper stories, but the news gives us scant details about how people live their lives in Islamabad, Fez, Cairo, or Tehran. Through the titles in “Points of View,” readers will encounter individual experiences in Muslim-majority societies through memoirs and novels representing a diverse geography and some of the best contemporary storytelling.

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In the Country of Men - Hisham Matar
Call Number: PR 6113 .A87 I515 2008
ISBN: 9780385340434
Publication Date: 2008-02-26
Libya, 1979. Nine-year-old Suleiman’s days are circumscribed by the narrow rituals of childhood: outings to the ruins surrounding Tripoli, games with friends played under the burning sun, exotic gifts from his father’s constant business trips abroad. But his nights have come to revolve around his mother’s increasingly disturbing bedside stories full of old family bitterness. And then one day Suleiman sees his father across the square of a busy marketplace, his face wrapped in a pair of dark sunglasses. Wasn’t he supposed to be away on business yet again? Why is he going into that strange building with the green shutters? Why did he lie? Suleiman is soon caught up in a world he cannot hope to understand—where the sound of the telephone ringing becomes a portent of grave danger; where his mother frantically burns his father’s cherished books; where a stranger full of sinister questions sits outside in a parked car all day; where his best friend’s father can disappear overnight, next to be seen publicly interrogated on state television. In the Country of Menis a stunning depiction of a child confronted with the private fallout of a public nightmare. But above all, it is a debut of rare insight and literary grace. From the Hardcover edition.

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Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi (Illustrator)
Call Number: PN 6747 .S245 P4713 2003
ISBN: 0375422307
Publication Date: 2003-04-29
Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman'sMaus,Persepolisis Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolispaints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane’s child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original,Persepolisis at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

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House of Stone - Anthony Shadid
Call Number: HQ 663.9 .S53 2012
ISBN: 9780547134666
Publication Date: 2012-02-28
“Wonderful . . . One of the finest memoirs I’ve read.” - Philip Caputo, Washington Post In the summer of 2006, racing through Lebanon to report on the Israeli invasion, Anthony Shadid found himself in his family’s ancestral hometown of Marjayoun. There, he discovered his great-grandfather’s once magnificent estate in near ruins, devastated by war. One year later, Shadid returned to Marjayoun, not to chronicle the violence, but to rebuild in its wake. So begins the story of a battle-scarred home and a journalist’s wounded spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this bittersweet and resonant memoir, Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside the history of his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America around the turn of the twentieth century. In the process, he memorializes a lost world and provides profound insights into a shifting Middle East. This paperback edition includes an afterword by the journalist Nada Bakri, Anthony Shadid’s wife, reflecting on his legacy. “A poignant dedication to family, to home, and to history . . . Breathtaking.” - San Francisco Chronicle “Entertaining, informative, and deeply moving . . . House of Stone will stand a long time, for those fortunate enough to read it.” - Telegraph (London)

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Broken Verses - Kamila Shamsie
Call Number: PR 9540.9 .S485 B76 2005
ISBN: 0156030535
Publication Date: 2005-06-01
Fourteen years ago, famous Pakistani activist Samina Akram disappeared. Two years earlier, her lover, Pakistan's greatest poet, was beaten to death by government thugs. In present-day Karachi, her daughter Aasmaani has just discovered a letter in the couple's private code-a letter that could only have been written recently. Aasmaani is thirty, single, drifting from job to job. Always left behind whenever Samina followed the Poet into exile, she had assumed that her mother's disappearance was simply another abandonment. Then, while working at Pakistan's first independent TV station, Aasmaani runs into an old friend of Samina's who gives her the first letter, then many more. Where could the letters have come from? And will they lead her to her mother? Merging the personal with the political, Broken Verses is at once a sharp, thrilling journey through modern-day Pakistan, a carefully coded mystery, and an intimate mother-daughter story that asks how we forgive a mother who leaves.

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Dreams of Trespass - Fatima Mernissi
Call Number: CT 2678 .M47 A3 1995
ISBN: 0201489376
Publication Date: 1995-09-04
" I was born in a harem in 1940 in Fez, Morocco... " So begins Fatima Mernissi in this exotic and rich narrative of a childhood behind the iron gates of a domestic harem. In Dreams of Trespass, Mernissi weaves her own memories with the dreams and memories of the women who surrounded her in the courtyard of her youth - women who, deprived of access to the world outside, recreated it from sheer imagination. Dreams of Trespassis the provocative story of a girl confronting the mysteries of time and place, gender and sex in the recent Muslim world.

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