I have to admit, my plan to read the world has slipped a little of late. I blame firstly, having to prepare for my viva and secondly, not being based near the bookshop which sold me the vast majority of my well-travelled novels. However these are all excuses for what is essentially a disappointing lazy streak, I really must try harder.
Having made that confession, I do have an international book to talk about. Way back at the start of September I read A Girl Made of Dust which is from the pen of Lebanese author Nathalie Abi-Ezzi and is set in the midst of the Israel-Lebanon war of the 1980s.
There were a number of times, especially early on that I was forcibly reminded of another book I read for this project – Willow Trees Don’t Weep, my Jordanian effort which I slated in this post. Both stories involve young girls trying to rescue their fathers from the tolls of war. But there the similarities end.
Unlike WTDW which was told from the point of view of a naïve, one-dimensional twenty-something whose voice was flat and unrealistic; A Girl Made of Dust is narrated by an actual child but one who speaks with real depth, humour and warmth. A much better comparison to make would be between Ruba (the central character here) and Scout of To Kill A Mockingbird. Both characters have authentic voices and both novels capture the innocent world of the child and the way that the lines between reality and fantasy blur when you’re under 10.
Like Scout, Ruba has to deal with an older brother who is growing away from her, a father buried by his own concerns and the intrusion of complicated adult concepts into her world.
A Girl Made of Dust is a genuinely charming tale which was a pleasure to read and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good coming-of-age story.