Daughter of Damascus

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Daughter of Damascus, Events, General | 0 comments

Last night, our book club met to discuss Daughter of Damascus, by Siham Tergeman. Andrea Rugh, translator of the book and scholar at the Middle East, facilitated a thought-provoking discussion that provided cultural context for the book and hopefully enhanced the participants’ understanding and appreciation of the book.

Daughter of Damascus is a difficult read. To an American audience, the writing style may seem dry (or boring as Andrea admitted) and narrative arc may seem flat with little climax and confusing. Why put a historical introduction at the end of the book? Why not include greater connection between the various vignettes of the book? The style of the book, which is very different from that of American literature, is typical of Arabic literature, which places emphasis on the floral beauty of the language and importance of storytelling. Dr. Rugh’s remarks, which themselves were delivered in a story-like fashion, brought life to the book and, hopefully, offered a new perspective to Siham’s style and stories.

During the conversation, Andrea Rugh referenced the book Destiny Disrupted, by Tamim Ansary.  You can read a short selection of the book here (in an article called Middle East or Middle World) and can borrow the book from the Multnomah County Library.

Finally, please note that there are still some copies of Lipstick Jihad, by Azadeh Moaveni, next month’s book, available at the library.


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