by SAMAR YAZBEK
In the dark of night, Hanan al-Hashimi awakens from a nightmare, confused and shaken.
Roaming the house in search of some reassurance, she is drawn towards the streak of light under her husband's bedroom door.
Little does she know that the beckoning glow will turn her life on its head, unsettling her fragile mind and sending her servant Aliyah tumbling back to the dusty alleyways of her childhood.
Banished from her mistress's villa in the small hours of the morning, Aliyah's route back to her old neighbourhood is paved with the memories of the family she left behind and the mistress she betrayed.
Exhausted by the night's events, both maid and mistress seek refuge in sleep.
In their dreams, the women's memories - of troubled childhoods, loneliness, love and their lives together - combine seamlessly to narrate the story of two Damascene women's search for security and tenderness.
From the tinroofed shack of Aliyah's family home, to the isolated grandeur of Hanan's imprisoning villa, the characters' recollections journey through Damascus, painting a portrait of the city in all of its contradictions: poverty and luxury, dormancy and change. Samar Yazbek's quick-paced narrative balances intense drama with the insightful portrayal of her characters' precarious mental states.
Bizarre and darkly humorous, yet with clear emotional realism Cinnamon is a tale from the inner world of the women of Damascus.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 124 pages
- Publisher: Arabia Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 20/12/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781906697433
- EPUB from £6.29