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Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian…
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Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women

by Ghada Alatrash

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5130229,653 (4.02)11

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a very brief collection of seven short stories. The women depicted are from different aspects of Syrian culture: Druze, secular and Muslim, daughters and wives, progressive families and very conservative families; those who stayed in Syria and those who left.

The writing is honest and kind. It gives us a look into women's lives in the midst of a war-torn and culturally-torn area of the globe that not many of us are familiar with outside the brutal images on the evening news. Each story begins with a bit of poetry or a quoted phrase from a well known poet or writer from the region.

“To leave a homeland was to leave a piece of one’s heart and soul behind. He cried as the plane departed the soil of his birthplace. He cried tears of pain; they were tears that sprung from a broken heart. He closed his eyes and reflected on Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish’s words: ' You ask: What is the meaning of homeland They will say: the house, the mulberry tree, the chicken coop, the beehive, the smell of bread, and the first sky. You ask: can a word of eight letters be big enough for all of these components, yet too small for us?' [In the Presence of Absence, an excerpt from “IV”, by Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian,”

Another that touched my heart was that of a Syrian Refugee in Canada, whose gay brother and partner are awaiting the arrival of their new daughter – an Syrian orphan.

“Throughout life, she had been taught that the likes of Hazem and Baasil are cursed with a disease, sick, and bound for hell. An ironic world indeed, she thought to herself. Those fighting, killing, beheading and raping in the name of a God were bound to heaven and awarded virgin brides, while two men like Hazem and Baasil, who were the manifestation of goodness and the essence of truth, were deemed pagans destined to burn in God's scorching fires. She smiled at the two truly beautiful men ..” ( )
  streamsong | Oct 8, 2017 |
short-stories, women, cultural-exploration

This group of tales explores the lives of women in a particular area of the Middle East generally unfamiliar to those of us in the US who are a generation or more from our own European roots. The characters serve to remind us that we are more alike than we are different. Each offering is very moving and requires some time for reflection and personal growth.
I received a copy from the publisher after winning a LibraryThing Giveaway. ( )
  jetangen4571 | Aug 20, 2017 |
The beautifully written preface captured me from the onset. The excerpts at the beginning of each story leads the way elegantly towards the sincere storylines ahead. Each short story is an eye opening insight into the lives of Syrian people, especially women of today.
There is a heartfelt beauty in Ghada Alatrash's writing that makes a reader want to keep going on reading. By the end of the book all emotions of the reader will be explored.
In all a very powerful and special book that will continue with you well after you have finished reading it. ( )
  Lin_K | Jul 11, 2017 |
I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing.

This novel made me yearn to read poetry in the jasmine-scented gardens of a peaceful Damascus. At times, my heart was broken, and I wished to reach out and hold the women in these pages. There were moments while reading where hope, optimism, and joy restored my soul. Stripped to the Bone is not a long book; it is merely a collection of short moments in the lives of several Syrian Women. Yet, it takes you further and makes you feel more than many books three times as long. It is simply a wonderful work of art.

I adored this collection. I felt I was experiencing a portrait of the subjects in Alatrash's novel. A photographer or painter would do well to portray the subjects in such an honest, stunning, and impactful manner. One cannot read these glimpses without being changed forever - perhaps because life is a collection of moments and these shared moments are so raw and beautifully honest. ( )
  JasmineWood112 | Jul 3, 2017 |
An interesting book containing a great deal of information. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy. ( )
  mrsreadsbooks | Jun 5, 2017 |
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