Against the Loveless World: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the internationally bestselling author of the “terrifically affecting” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) Mornings in Jenin, a sweeping and lyrical novel that follows a young Palestinian refugee as she slowly becomes radicalized while searching for a better life for her family throughout the Middle East, for readers of international literary bestsellers including Washington Black, My Sister, The Serial Killer, and Her Body and Other Parties.
As Nahr sits, locked away in solitary confinement, she spends her days reflecting on the dramatic events that landed her in prison in a country she barely knows. Born in Kuwait in the 70s to Palestinian refugees, she dreamed of falling in love with the perfect man, raising children, and possibly opening her own beauty salon. Instead, the man she thinks she loves jilts her after a brief marriage, her family teeters on the brink of poverty, she’s forced to prostitute herself, and the US invasion of Iraq makes her a refugee, as her parents had been. After trekking through another temporary home in Jordan, she lands in Palestine, where she finally makes a home, falls in love, and her destiny unfolds under Israeli occupation. Nahr’s subversive humor and moral ambiguity will resonate with fans of My Sister, The Serial Killer, and her dark, contemporary struggle places her as the perfect sister to Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.
Written with Susan Abulhawa’s distinctive “richly detailed, beautiful, and resonant” (Publishers Weekly) prose, this powerful novel presents a searing, darkly funny, and wholly unique portrait of a Palestinian woman who refuses to be a victim.
About the Author
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian-American writer and political activist. She is the author of Mornings in Jenin—translated into thirty languages—and The Blue Between Sky and Water. Born to refugees of the Six Day War of 1967, she moved to the United States as a teenager, graduated in biomedical science, and established a career in medical science. In July 2001, Abulhawa founded Playgrounds for Palestine, a non-governmental children’s organization dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children. She lives in Pennsylvania.
“A thrilling, defiant novel. Abulhawa’s latest novel reads as a riot act against oppression, misogyny, and shame.”
— Fatima Bhutto, author of The Runaways
“Against the Loveless World is a masterpiece! As she does with every book, Susan Abulhawa paints stunningly beautiful and humanizing images of Palestinian women as they navigate the violence of settler-colonial oppression with dignity and agency. With this novel, she also forces us to wrestle with the complexities of love, freedom, struggle, and shame in ways that both inspire and challenge our very conceptions of what it means to be human. This is a major literary contribution that further cements Abulhawa’s status as one of the most important writers of our generation.”
— Marc Lamont Hill, award-winning author of Nobody
“A powerful and expansive story of love, resistance, and the search for freedom. Abulhawa’s characters are raw, unapologetic, and unforgettable.”
— Saleem Haddad, author of Guapa
“Nahr is a wonderful creation, strong-willed, passionate, unapologetic, and adventurous. Her refusal to accept the subordination expected of her propels the story at a thrilling pace. Her determination to find love in a loveless world and her unquenchable spirit in adversity shines a ray of hope into some very dark places.”
— Michael Palin, actor and philanthropist
“A fearless work of imagination and documentary.”
— Ahdaf Soueif, author of In the Eye of the Sun
“The detailed explorations of a woman’s pain and desperate measures make this lush story stand out.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Through Nahr, Abulhawa seamlessly, affectingly parallels Palestine's brutal, occupied history during the last half-century, humanizing headlines with names, families, dates, memories that belong to people with whom readers can identity, believe, empathize, mourn and ultimately, albeit tentatively, celebrate.”
— Shelf Awareness