The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing

The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing


Darina Al-Joundi and Mohamed Kacimi
The wild ride of a young woman’s sexual rebellion in war-torn Beirut.

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Paperback Edition
ISBN: 9781558616837
Publication Date: 03-01-2011

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Translated by Marjolijn de Jager

In this breathless memoir, Al-Joundi tells her story of being raised in pre-war Beirut by a bohemian father who encouraged her to defy all taboos—religious, political, and sexual. When he dies in wartime, her resentment of new constraints imposed by fundamentalists fuels her sex and drug binges, and she is cast out in a shocking denouement.

"Actress Al-Joundi's recollections of her unconventional youth in war-torn Beirut are heartbreaking yet humorous. . . . With her direct prose, Al-Joundi never wallows in the horrors or overplays the absurdity, instead striking a perfect balance in this unique account." Publishers Weekly

"beautifully taut and relentlessly unemotional. A pitiless, steely narrative, alternately heartbreaking and compelling." Kirkus

"The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing is an intense, harrowing, and deeply disturbing memoir of a woman's sustained resistance to the world around her. Darina Al-Joundi's story of her family life and youthful extremity in Beirut, of war and its unspeakable violence, and of a culture that becomes increasingly intolerant and oppressive in the name of religion, especially of women, is told with such brutal immediacy, I found myself both moved and frightened. At once personal and historical, the book is the testament of an unrepentant rebel, who, in the end, has no choice but to leave everything and everyone behind her. " —Siri Hustvedt, author of The Sorrows of an American

"The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing is no coming-of-age tale framed by easy, charming reflections on lessons gained from turbulent times. Instead, it’s a feat that runs closer to the bone. Al-Joundi laces scenes with minimalistic flair and lets events shine all the more in the absence of extensive explications. The result is profound immediacy. Though readers experience the shock of abuse, even when the “music” stops, there is little doubt about Al-Joundi’s ferocious resolve—right up to the promise in the book’s final line." Venus Zine

"Darina Al-Joundi's personal liberation became a conquest when it coincided with the civil war in Lebanon. To a merciless world she brings a merciless book." —Etel Adnan, author of Sitt Marie Rose

"Born in Lebanon in 1968, Darina Al-Joundi came of age at the height of the Lebanese civil war. Her father initiated his three daughters into not only poetry and freedom of opinion, but alcohol, cigarettes, and erotic independence. By the time she reached her early twenties, she had held jobs ranging from TV actress to Red Cross worker, and had seen her native city bombed to oblivion. Al-Joundi's book reconstitutes the misadventures of her youth in a style that is at once heart-breaking and very funny." —Nancy Huston, author of Fault Lines