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The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story Paperback – April 6, 2010
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Amazon Exclusive: Marjane Satrapi Reviews The Locust and the Bird
Marjane Satrapi was born in Iran and now lives in Paris, where she is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers throughout the world, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Persepolis and Persepolis 2. She co-wrote and directed the Academy Award-nominated animated film version of Persepolis. Read Satrapi's exclusive Amazon guest review of The Locust and the Bird:
While I was reading Hanan Al Shaykh’s new book, The Locust and the Bird, my regret as an author was not to have known Kamila, Hanan’s mother, the extravagant narrator of this book. What a woman! What a storyteller! She reminds me of my beloved grandmother (who is in many of my books), and many other women of her generation that I knew, who were manipulative in order to survive, who lied in order to establish the truth, and, most of all, so full of life and passion. When I finished the book I had one major thought: this book needs to be made into a movie, but this is the kind of story one needs to be a real Lebanese in order to turn it into a movie. That was my other regret as a movie maker. But most of all I felt extremely lucky to spend time with someone so intelligent, full of humor and love. --Marjane Satrapi
(Photo © Maria Ortiz)
Amazon Exclusive: Hanan al-Shaykh on The Locust and the Bird
My mother was a phenomenon to all those who knew her. She lived her hard life in a peculiar comic way. My mother lied, stole, betrayed, abandoned her children. Loved, hated and said no to her family, to her society. She was also beaten, cursed, starved and adored. She lived in Beirut. Her flat was like a hotel lobby, a psychiatrist’s couch, a stage. Young and old gathered around her as if they were in the presence of a comic guru. She took anti-depressants: "the only way to cope with her popularity," she told me once. I knew that she first took them to help ease her guilt for abandoning my sister and me.
Though I never blamed her for leaving me at the age of 6, and for not being interested in me, nonetheless, I found myself building a wall between us. Throughout the years she never stopped explaining to me the reason for leaving my father to marry her lover. When I eventually listened to her story I found myself, as a novelist, face to face with a treasure wrapped in a tissue paper. --Hanan Al-Shaykh
(Photo © Hanan al-Shaykh) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Al-Shaykh, a Lebanese journalist and author of six novels (including Story of Zahra), finally succumbs to her illiterate mother Kamila's haranguing to write her story. The result falls somewhere between memoir and biography as she recreates and undoubtedly takes literary license with her mother's history. Kamila and her brother grow up in poverty, estranged from their father, until their mother moves them to Beirut to live with their older siblings from her first marriage in the 1930s. Soon, one of their sisters dies of rabies and the family marries 14-year-old Kamila unwillingly to the widower, Abu-Hussein, 18 years her elder. Kamila torments her husband to show her displeasure, but bears him two children by the age of 17. Her starry-eyed love of the cinema is all that assuages her unhappiness but also fuels her affair with a man her own age, Muhammed. After the 10-year affair has shamed both their families, she is granted a divorce from Abu-Hussein but must leave her two daughters behind, including the author, Hanan. Kamila has five more children with Muhammed. Though at times Kamila's life feels overly condensed, the author's journalistic talent reveals itself in her ability to get past her own abandonment to paint Kamila as a vivid, willful girl who lived as though she were the heroine of a great film. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Hanan's style of writing is amazing. She paints the world with her words and you become one with the story. I wish I met Kamila when she was alive, she would have been my best friend.