The Loved Ones
As the once vibrant Suhaila lies in a coma in a Paris hospital, her son becomes re-entangled in his problematic relationship with her as well as with his war-ravaged homeland.
As a network of Suhaila’s friends watch over her bedside, they slowly introduce Nader to the mother he never knew: a woman in love with dancing, poetry, and excesses, a woman far removed from his memories of a mother who quietly submitted to constant abuse from his father.
"Leaves an indelible impression. [The Loved Ones] is rich with family and neighbors and [Mamdouh] notes all of their subtle interactions and secrets."
“What is dynamic here is Suhaila's loving community of women friends from everywhere . . . who talk about big ideas. . . . [T]he family story is universal. . ."
“…[I]ntense and lyrical.”
“Long after the last lines . . . [there is] a radiant picture of the heroine: her generous character . . . and above all, her love of Iraq. Her son Nader acknowledges that 'she always tows Baghdad into whatever places we have lived, to be able to endure things, to stay alive and not die.”
"[An] intimately moving, polyphonic narrative of displacement and nomadism . . . a hymn to friendship and to boundless giving that ultimately restores life. Written in exile, it invents a language of exile with which to resist dispossession."
"This novel has a complexity that takes time to progress . . . truly unique."
“[In this novel the] strata of events and sensations create a vivid view of Iraqi society at home and abroad with an emphasis on the Iraqi diaspora in the last decade of the millennium. . . . Booth’s translation is a labor of love and talent, a skill coupled with devotion."