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Tribute to the Power of the Word

The deep love of 'An Unnecessary Woman'

Apr. 4, 2014
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Beautifully narrated by the educated and clever 72-year-old divorcee Aaliya Sohbi, An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine is a tribute to the power of the written word. Aaliya feels at times as if her life is “unnecessary,” but her deep love of books and her work translating texts into her native Arabic give her passion and depth as a protagonist. This Beirut heroine reveals her inner pangs as she looks back on her long life with both realistic longing and startling wisdom to uncover the intelligent voice of a deprecating introvert. Aaliya’s habit of using literature as a lens through which to view the world lends her a vibrant charisma. This woman’s unusual life calls into question what it means to be successful in the waning years of one’s long life. Written with a raw beauty and intricate complexity, An Unnecessary Woman is an introspective look into the fulfilling inner world of a solitary figure.

Alameddine is of Lebanese descent and grew up in both Lebanon and Kuwait. A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002, Alameddine is best known as the critically acclaimed writer behind the absorbing novel The Hakawati, which tells the story of 21st-century Beirut through the eyes of a native-born son who has returned home after years in America. The author will appear at UW-Milwaukee’s Curtin Hall from 3-6 p.m. on Friday, April 4, as part of UWM’s Series “The Arab and American,” which includes a talk and panel discussion.


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