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  • ISBN: 9781513691077

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    Tale of a Modern Concubine: Nights of Arabian Terror - A Novel





  • Description:

    Isha Mudrimeen is an Arabian young woman with an American mother. She returns home to Jeddah for summer following her first year of college in Texas confused, grappling with the suicide of her older sister Sharifa, and her own marginal halfie status in Jeddah society. Longing for love, yet abhorrent of the me-to dynamic she sees in dating before marriage, she’s left feeling alienated, anxious, and doomed. Nearing twenty her prospects for a good match are slipping away. All her closest friends in Jeddah are getting married and she fears being left behind. Why should she study abroad? She already feels too different, too American to fully fit socially back home. In Jeddah, Isha’s extended Meccan family recommends an ideal suitor through the traditional arranged marriage network. Isha is soon whisked into her first romance as the wife of Dr. Sultan Othman Binnas, a tall, handsome, blue-eyed, thirty-five-year-old medical doctor with a British accent from a prominent Hijazi merchant family. But when 9-11 strikes, Isha becomes fearful of phone use and increasingly isolated. In Sultan's palatial Red Sea villa, Isha realizes she is evermore on her own with their three young children. Sultan constantly travels abroad with Dr. Abdullah, his long-time colleague and domestic companion. All Isha's human contact shifts to the internet where she befriends Al-Arabi, a marginally employed academic in Berlin with questionable political leanings. On a family vacation Al-Arabi secretly takes Isha off for an afternoon tour privately exploring historic sites in Cairo. When Isha returns, Sultan and all three children are gone. Left stranded and alone, Isha frantically searches for legal help in limbo and self-imposed exile. Facing an international custody dispute, and fearing adultery charges back home in Jeddah, Isha travels to London in hopes of reuniting with her children. After a traumatic encounter with the surveillance apparatus in London, Isha soon flees back to Cairo to find refuge with a middle-aged American confirmed bachelor she nicknames Khawaja. They become very close, empowering Isha to finally claim her children's rights as American citizens. But with the eruption of the Arab Spring, Isha again finds herself pregnant and hiding in Khawaja's isolated Cairo penthouse, watching the enflamed streets below as the post-Ottoman cities across the region fall to the Islamic State in what seems like the end of the world. Literary allusions, themes, and motifs are richly interwoven throughout Layla Hariry’s Tale of a Modern Concubine: Nights of Arabian Terror. This debut novel artfully synthesizes and explores religious, political, economic, historical, cultural questions of sexuality, gender roles and identity through a deeply personal, compelling, imaginative, erotic, and uniquely satisfying dystopic narrative.

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    Layla Hariry

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