My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book, especially the main character, Aaliya, whose way of looking at the world was both practical and literary. There was a lot of information about modern Beirut which I didn't know much about. There was also a long section about the main character and her mother which I found less interesting. Aaliya's life is worlds away from my own, figuratively and literally, but I identified with many of the ways she observed things, her connection to books, and the importance of projects in her life. I also loved the ending, it was exactly what the story needed.
I marked several quotes as I was reading.
"I thought I'd be reading a new book today, but it doesn't feel right, or I don't feel like it. Some days are not new-book days." (p. 59)
"Beirut is the Elizabeth Taylor of cities: insane, beautiful, tacky, falling apart, aging, and forever drama laden. She'll also marry any infatuated suitor who promises to make her life more comfortable, no matter how inappropriate he is." (p. 88)
"I should eat something this morning, maybe boil another cup of water for tea, but I can't move. I am listless and weary. I am lassitude. An amorphous anxiety smothers me." (p. 144)Overall this was an excellent novel about a memorable woman.