A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi- Feature and Review


This delightful collection of short stories offers insight into the lives of Syrian women, both the married and the brides-to-be. It reveals the warmth and humor as well as the oppression in the Syrian society. The stories make the reader laugh while addressing serious issues such as domestic violence.
Um Hussam can't find a suitable bride for her son, testing each candidate's sight, hearing and reading skills, occasionally cobbing a feel. Jamila's husband Hassan can't forget his deceased wife, until she makes sure he never mentions her again. Rami can't help but wonder whether his new bride is a natural beauty or a talented surgeon's masterpiece. Khadija's maid stabs her in the back while Rana's husband Muafak can't find the right excuse to avoid a fight.



Syrian BridesSyrian Brides by Anna Halabi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi is a 2018 publication.

An eye -opening collection of short stories centered around Syrian brides or brides-to be. These stories range from charming to alarming giving readers a unique insight into the Syrian culture.

This book created a little buzz a few months back, piquing my curiosity. I’m always eager to learn more about different cultures, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I’m so glad I discovered this gem. These stories are full of whip smart dialogue, is very fresh and quite clever, and often ironic. The tone is often humorous, but these stories have a bite to them. The subject matter is not light, addressing domestic violence and repression and oppression. Yet, these women, for the most part, display fortitude, grace, wit, and strength. They are quite ingenious, given their circumstances, often finding ways to circumvent or lessen their burdens.

All these stories are good but, I don’t feel comfortable describing them in detail because it would most likely give something away.

The author wisely begins the collection with a delightful story which made me smile and was the perfect segue into what followed. The stories have a whimsical quality, but are serious and cautionary, as well, providing a great deal of food for thought. Some relay messages any culture can recognize and learn from, but, naturally, I did bristle at the offensive attitudes of the men in these stories.

Each of the eleven stories is strong, no ‘fillers’ or weaknesses. Naturally, I liked one or two more than the others, but even when I didn’t care for the outcome of a given story, I respected the lesson learned from it.

As we all work to better the lives of women, not just in our own country, but for women everywhere, this book left a deep impression on me. On one hand, I felt disheartened by the patriarchal dominance and oppression described within these stories, but on the other hand, I feel humbled and gained much insight through these stories.

The author has done a fantastic job, not only with the writing, but with the organization and order in which the stories were presented. I’m going to press the ‘recommend’ button for this one.





Anna Halabi was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. She emigrated to Europe in 1999 for her university studies. She currently lives with her family in Germany.
Syrian Brides is her debut as an author. The stories and characters in this collection were inspired by her personal experiences as well as her relatives, friends and TV shows. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.