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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (July 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080211895X
  • ASIN: B002YX0FKQ
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,278,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This debut novel, written by a woman who experienced firsthand the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s, weaves the horrors of war with the love and devotion of family. Ruba is seven years old, living in a small Christian village outside of Beirut during the Israeli invasion. Her father is depressed and lethargic; her older brother, Naji, avoids the family, more interested in guns and the local thugs. As the conflict draws closer to the town, causing acts of inhumanity based on religious differences, Ruba learns a secret from her father's past that forces her to face the reality and cruelty around her. Abi-Ezzi walks the delicate tightrope between man's inhumanity and the power and strength family members must draw upon in order to survive. The book is beautifully written, lyrical, with vivid, sensual descriptions that are sophisticated yet completely believable as experienced and retained by a child. (My bedroom smelt of cotton and books, Mami and Papi's room smelled of ironed sheets.) This disturbing, beautiful book, in turn hopeful and despairing, brings clarity and compassion to an untenable situation. (July)
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From Booklist

Growing up in a Christian Maronite family in Lebanon in the early 1980s, Ruba, nine, hears the bombs exploding in distant Beirut. Papi blames the Palestinians: why does he hate them? What has made him unable to leave the house? And why is Ruba’s older brother, Naji, so angry? Where is he going at night with a gun? True to the child’s bewildered viewpoint, this stirring first novel by a Lebanese writer shows the terror of civilians caught up in violent conflict. The adults’ attempts to answer Ruba’s innocent questions provide backstory for the reader on the politics of the region. Yet, for the young girl, the answers explain nothing. And, as the mortar shells reach Ruba’s street, injuring her brother, it is hard for her to know who is fighting whom––Israelis, Palestinians, Christians, Muslims. Both the casualties and some perpetrators are people she knows. Rooted in the child’s experience, the haunting story raises elemental global issues that are part of headlines today. --Hazel Rochman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cathytg on February 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A child narrator is a hard act to pull off, but it works very well here. Beautiful, small book about childhood, war, and family. It's very gentle given what's going on (the Israeli invasion of Lebanon), and Abi-Ezzi's voice is wonderful. It made me think a little of the film The Spirit of the Beehive, another version of a child surrounded by events she doesn't quite understand. The world of Maronite Christian Lebanon is lovingly described and explored, even as it's on the edge of shattering forever. And I thought the resolution, which really explored the implications of the title, worked perfectly.

I bought this more or less on a whim, and now I'm surprised it's not better known!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Meaghan Good on August 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written novel that is, I think, suitable for both children and adults. The author is able to show the horrors of war without compromising the authenticity of the child's narrative voice -- and that's a very delicate balancing act. She was also able to let the reader know what was going on without being overly didactic -- I know NOTHING about Israel's invasion of Lebanon, but I could get just enough from this book to be able to understand the story, and it made me curious to learn more.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By labfs39 on November 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
A Girl Made of Dust is set in Lebanon in 1982 during the Israeli Invasion. I enjoyed this coming of age story because of its simultaneously naive and wise protagonist, Ruba, and because I know so little of this country and the invasion. The plot line was simple, a family secret that is slowly explained and resolved during the course of the book, and the characters sweet. What intrigued me was the hints of conflict glimpsed only by the corner of the reader's eye: Maronites, Greek Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Sunni, Shi'a, and Druze all living cheek to jowl; the confusion by the Lebanese as to whether the Israeli invasion will help remove the Palestinian terrorists or simply cause unwanted war; the destruction of Beirut and the killing of civilians by both sides. These oblique topics intrigue me to read more about the history of the region, even though they are not the focus of the book per se.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book at a yard sale and knew nothing about it. Had it on my shelf for a while. When I finally got to reading it I was pleasantly surprised. The story drew me in immediately. Abi-Ezzi's prose is fluid and musical. Overall a gentle yet shocking story well written and perhaps a bit too short! Highly recommend it.
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