The Locust and the Bird : My Mother's Story
by Hanan Al-Shaykh
Kamila is nine years old when she is taken from the poverty of her childhood village in southern Lebanon to Beirut. She has never learned to read or write though she longs to go to school. Stories, poetry and film are her passion - and a beautiful boy called Muhammad. They fall in love before Kamila is forced into an arranged marriage, despite her tears and screams. She is only fourteen years old. On her wedding night her first daughter is conceived; four years later, Hanan is born. Kamila and Muhammad continue to see each other in secret, risking their lives. It is eight years before Kamila can bring herself to divorce her husband, as to do so means leaving her daughters behind. Beautifully evoking the dusty streets of Beirut and life in Lebanon, this is a heartbreaking memoir of an extraordinary woman.