Suad Amiry at the AADL

Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 6:30pm

Literati Bookstore is pleased to welcome Suad Amiry to the Ann Arbor District Library, in partnership with the Ann Arbor chapter of the Palestinian Aid Society of America, in support of her novel Mother of Strangers.

Set in Jaffa in between 1947 and 1951, this “fable-like historical novel of young love ... darkly humorous and touching . . .” (Oprah Daily) is based on a true story during the beginning of the destruction of Palestine and displacement of its people.

Based on the true story of two Jaffa teenagers, Mother of Strangers follows the daily lives of Subhi, a fifteen-year-old mechanic, and Shams, the thirteen-year-old student he hopes to marry one day. In this prosperous and cosmopolitan port city, with its bustling markets, cinemas, and cafés on the hills overlooking the Mediter­ranean Sea, we meet many other unforgettable charac­ters as well, including Khawaja Michael, the elegant and successful owner of orange groves above the harbor; Mr. Hassan, the tailor who makes Subhi’s treasured English suit, which he hopes will change his life; and the very mischievous and outrageous Uncle Habeeb, who insists on introducing Subhi to the local bordello.
 
With a thriving orange export business, Jaffa had always been a city welcoming to outsiders—the “Mother of Strangers”—where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived peacefully together. Once the bombardment of the city begins in April 1948, Suad Amiry gives us the grim but fascinating details of the shock, panic, and destruc­tion that ensues. Jaffa becomes unrecognizable, with neighborhoods flattened, families removed from their homes and separated, and those who remain in constant danger of arrest and incarceration. Most of the popula­tion flees eastward to Jordan or by sea to Lebanon in the north or to Egypt and Gaza in the south. Subhi and Shams will never see each other again.
 
Suad Amiry has written a vivid and devastating ac­count of a seminal moment in the history of the Middle East—the beginning of the end of Palestine and a por­trait of a city irrevocably changed.

SUAD AMIRY is a writer and an architect. She is the author of six works of nonfiction, including Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, which was awarded the Viareggio-Versilia International Prize in 2004, and Golda Slept Here, which was awarded the Nonino Risit d’Aur Prize in 2014. Amiry received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and is the founder of the RIWAQ Centre for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah, where she lives.
Event address: 
343 S 5th Ave
AADL, 4th floor meeting room
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Books: 
Mother of Strangers: A Novel By Suad Amiry Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593316559
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - August 2nd, 2022