by the educated and clever 72-year-old divorcee Aaliya Sohbi, An Unnecessary
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.