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An Unnecessary Woman
by Rabih Alameddine

Published: 2014-02-04
Hardcover : 320 pages
3 members reading this now
23 clubs reading this now
1 member has read this book
One of the Middle East’s most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine follows his international bestseller, The Hakawati, with an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old ?unnecessary” woman.

Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by ...
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Introduction

One of the Middle East’s most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine follows his international bestseller, The Hakawati, with an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old ?unnecessary” woman.

Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family’s ?unnecessary appendage.” Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read?by anyone.

In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya’s digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya’s own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.

A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, the prodigiously gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a nuanced rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East.

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Book Club Recommendations

Great cultural read...
by debrafillingim (see profile) 02/13/17
I love reading a book that helps me see other parts of the world. This book will take you there...

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by falbukrek (see profile) 07/31/18

 
  "What a woman!"by debrafillingim (see profile) 02/13/17

Some in my group found the book sad-but overall-I was truly inspired by this woman. I loved reading about someone in another culture and while she may not have been valued/important in her culture-she... (read more)

 
by LizP46 (see profile) 04/26/16

 
  "One of a King"by witchy1 (see profile) 02/19/16

This was an outstanding read ~ so glad it was one of our picks.

 
  "An Unnecessary Woman"by MarlyOdF (see profile) 02/11/16

Our book group found this book to be beautifully written. Prose as poetry was what one member described it as. Those who struggled with the book had anticipated something more plot driven and were thrown... (read more)

 
  "A Soulful Read"by ddblue33 (see profile) 02/21/15

Although we find ourselves shuttered in the solitary world of Aaylia and her books, the sounds and smells of Beruit become manifest through the windows and breezes, the rain and the streets.... (read more)

 
by Gail360 (see profile) 01/23/15

 
by sherbert (see profile) 01/23/15

 
  "An Unnecessary Woman"by kottmeyer (see profile) 04/29/14

This was an unnecessary book. I found the author to be very pretentious with his name dropping and the main character was truly unnecessary.

 
by lwardein (see profile) 04/28/14

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