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Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi

Sonora (edition 2017)

by Hannah Lillith Assadi, Soneela Nankani

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331488,452 (3.5)2
Authors:Hannah Lillith Assadi
Other authors:Soneela Nankani
Info:New York : Soho Press Inc., 2017
Collections:Your library

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Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi



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Sonora, finalist for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, is a rare first novel by a truly gifted writer. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Almost everything about this book is what I would call poetic: from the narration, to the dialogue, to the character action. Perhaps the poetic quality of the writing is not surprising, as the author, Hannah Lillith Assadi, is a published poet as well. As an example of the lyrical narration, here's a passage from the narrator, Ahlam, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee father and Israeli mother:

"I believed I saw the devil once. He had a bellowing face. He was beautiful. Dark complected, tiger eyed. He was far from me, across the room from me. I could not help but be drawn to him. I began to get closer. I could hear him say as a vial was placed in my hand, 'And in the end, even God will have to admit that all those who wandered here wandered toward good.'"

One of the many joys of reading this novel for me is that it contains so many passages like that above, passages that surprise with their bold imagination. Strangely to me, even though the book is poetic and grounded in a realistic narrative, I wouldn't characterize it as an example of magical realism. Nevertheless, this book left a lasting impression on me and I'm am eager to read the author's future work. ( )
  Goodlorde | Jan 27, 2018 |
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"Ahlam, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee and his Israeli wife, grows up in the arid lands of desert suburbia outside of Phoenix. In a stark landscape where coyotes prowl and mysterious lights occasionally pass through the nighttime sky, Ahlam's imagination reigns. She battles chronic fever dreams and isolation. When she meets her tempestuous counterpart Laura, the two fall into infatuated partnership, experimenting with drugs and sex, and watching helplessly as a series of mysterious deaths claim high school classmates. The girls flee their pasts for New York City, but as their emotional bond heightens, the intensity of their lives becomes unbearable. In search of love, ecstasy, oblivion, and belonging, Ahlam and Laura's drive to outrun the ghosts of home threatens to undo them altogether"--… (more)

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