Guestblog: The End of Eddy

Édouard Louis – The End of Eddy by Nynke Anna van der Mark The parameters of life in a small working-class town in Northern France in the 1990’s are narrow. Social life is centred around a few landmarks: the factory in which virtually all men in town work, the schoolyard where the women gossip, the bus stop where the youths come together and drink and the streets in which the children play. The inhabitants of this town navigate between these landmarks while adhering to the normative expectations of gender roles, sexuality, working life and family life. Alcohol and violence are … Continue reading Guestblog: The End of Eddy

The Good Muslim

The Good Muslim by Mojdeh Feili I bought the novel The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam without realizing that it was a part of the Bengal Trilogy and this was part two. Actually, I did not even realize this while I was reading it and only found out when I was already finished with the book. The story told in this beautiful book stands on its own because it hit me pretty hard without having read part one. I didn’t even have a rough start with this one, I just eased into it and some nights continued reading way past … Continue reading The Good Muslim

I contain multitudes.

I contain multitudes by Yasmina El Hilali Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself; (I am large, I contain multitudes.) – Walt Whitman Song of Myself – Leaves of Grass (1892-92) When we are kids, we hardly ever question who we are; we just are. I was an exuberant child and my emotions were intense. Whether I was happy, sad or angry, I had no problem making any of it known to the world. I was loved and I found it easy to love and the little world I knew was all I knew, and it was … Continue reading I contain multitudes.

Ya bahiyyat al-masakin: Mornings in Jenin

Mornings in Jenin by Yasmina El Hilali Do you know, Mother, that Haj Salem was buried alive in his home? Does he tell you stories in heaven now? I wish I had had a chance to meet him. To see his toothless grin and touch his leathery skin. To beg him, as you did in your youth, for a story from our Palestine. He was over one hundred years old, Mother. To have lived so long, only to be crushed to death by a bulldozer. Is this what it means to be Palestinian? Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa has been on … Continue reading Ya bahiyyat al-masakin: Mornings in Jenin

The Power

The Power by Mojdeh Feili Naomi Alderman’s book The Power is very popular and features Margaret Atwood’s review on the cover, which describes it as “Electrifying”. This made it very promising but I always remain skeptical when a book is appreciated by the audience at large. However, Atwood’s opinion matters to me (I wrote my MA thesis on The Handmaid’s Tale) so I was excited. The influence of Atwood is very present in her work and it actually reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale a lot. The way Alderman has played with gender relations resembles the way Atwood has done this as well but … Continue reading The Power

Letters to a Young Muslim

Letters to a Young Muslim by Yasmina El Hilali How do you juggle two identities? How do you combine East and West? Do you dare ask what they have in common? Letters to a Young Muslim immediately caught my eye in the local bookstore. Its cover is a bright blue with intricate patterns of silver and gold and I couldn’t help but pick it up. I identify as (relatively) young and Muslim and I was curious what this book was all about.  Was it perhaps addressed to me? Letters to a Young Muslim is a compilation of honest letters of a father … Continue reading Letters to a Young Muslim

Take me home yaqay

Teaching my Mother how to give Birth by Mojdeh Feili Yaqay – Somali word used to emphasize emotion/urgency in speech. Such a beautiful word that describes how I felt reading through the chapbook of Warsan Shire, called Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth. She was born in Kenia, to Somali parents, and lives in London. I am amazed by her poetry, even more so than Rupi Kaur‘s. Shire brings new meaning to the phrase ‘bearing your soul’. Yasmina gave me this book for my birthday a couple of months ago and I had not picked it up yet. Of course, I already … Continue reading Take me home yaqay

Bookstore magic: De Nieuwe Boekhandel

De Nieuwe Boekhandel By Mojdeh Feili & Yasmina El Hilali We have our little routines. Whenever we meet, we usually decide for endless conversation over a cup of coffee or tea at our local coffee franchise Bagels & Beans. However, our meetups are never complete if we do not end our day with a visit to our favorite bookstore that is just down the street: De Nieuwe Boekhandel. As a kid, libraries were my favorite place to play hide and seek: this usually meant I disappeared between the racks of books and left my mother searching for me. When the … Continue reading Bookstore magic: De Nieuwe Boekhandel

Suitcase of Wonders

    Suitcase of Wonders by Yasmina El Hilali & Mojdeh Feili We haven’t posted in a while, and one of the reasons is that we are both busy. Yasmina is a superhero by day (read: teacher) and Mojdeh handed in her thesis finally (she’ll gladly send you a copy in the hope someone reads it other than her supervisor). However, that is not the only reason. We both have many ideas and we want to develop them the right way. Today we finally found a day we could both spend some good time on it -and finally see each … Continue reading Suitcase of Wonders