Sunday 6 August 2017

Hope Has Two Daughters

Finished July 18
Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh, translated from French by Fred A. Reed

This author is the wife of Maher Arar, a Canadian man imprisoned, tortured, and cleared of terrorism charges. Monia was thrust into the limelight during her fight for her husband and his rights.
This novel takes place in two time periods: 1984, and 2010-2011, both periods of revolution in Tunisia. In 1984 Nadia is in her final year in the lycee when a short-lived revolution takes place. Nadia has been exposed to a wide variety of books and thinking through her father's extensive library, and finds her actions lead to her suspension from school. She begins studying English at the American Cultural Center where she meets a young Canadian man, Alex, who is adding technology to the school's library. Nadia's best friend Neila has been dating a young man Mounir, who is from the disadvantaged part of town, Ettadamoun Township, and has been studying to be a lawyer. Mounir is implicated in the uprising and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Nadia finds that her future in Tunisia is limited due to her actions, and believes moving to Canada as Alex urges her to do is a wise move despite her parents' feelings.
In the more recent time period, Nadia's daughter Lila is visiting Tunisia for the summer to improve her Arabic. She is staying with her mother's old friend Neila and her husband, but finds the school boring and not offering the learning she expected. When she is unexpectedly befriended by a neighbour woman her own age, she finds herself drawn into a new group of friends, young people who come from both the wealthy neighbourhood and Ettadamoun Township, and who believe the time is ripe for a new kind of society, beginning with the revolution dubbed the Arab Spring.
As both mother and daughter go through their own enlightenment during each revolution, they also find the Arab Spring bringing them together not only with each other, but with family and friends.
A very useful glossary to terminology is supplied at the back of the book.

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