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Before the Queen Falls Asleep

On sale

28th March 2024

Price: £10.99

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Selected: Digital (deliver electronic) / ISBN-13: 9781529415667

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Born a girl to parents who expected a boy, Jihad grows up treated like the eldest son, wearing boy’s clothing and sharing the financial burden of head of the household with her father.

Now middle-aged, each night Jihad tells her daughter a story from her life. As Maleka prepares to leave home to attend university abroad, her mother revisits the past of their Palestinian family, tenderly describing their life in exile in Kuwait and her own experiences of love and loss as she grows up.

Huzama Habayeb weaves a richly observed and affectionate portrait of a Palestinian family displaced from their homeland, exploring with humour and poise the love and betrayal that pursues Jihad and her family from Kuwait to Jordan to Dubai. This is a novel whose words will resound long after you finish the final page.

Translated from the Arabic by Kay Heikkinen

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Ahdaf Soueif, Guardian
A brilliant novel of the Palestinian diaspora. Funny and gritty, and bursting with life and humour.
Burhan Sönmez
Huzama Habayeb describes many worlds within one world. She weaves the East and the West within the Middle East, and explores the feeling of living in exile even when at home. She cares for the lives of children and women, always filled with difficulties and great hopes, in a compassionate and magical language. While searching for a solution in despair, she holds up a new mirror to the world, a mirror that everyone is invited to look at and question themselves